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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Buy America

On January 25, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14005, Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America's Workers, to ensure that federal financial assistance awards maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States. The Buy America requirements of FRA’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements, Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail, Railroad Crossing Elimination, and Restoration and Enhancement Grants programs reinforce this goal, and aid in encouraging a domestic market in the rail sector. Spending authorized under these programs, and USDOT grant / loan programs administered by FRA, are subject to the Buy America provisions of 49 U.S.C. § 22905(a) (formerly 49 USC § 24405(a)).

FRA's Buy America: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) describe its procedures for applying the Buy America provisions to the steel, iron, and manufactured products used in projects funded by these programs.

In addition, the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA), Public Law 117-58, § 70914, applies to certain construction materials used in FRA-administered grants. On August 23, 2023, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget published new 2 CFR Part 184, guidance to Federal agencies implementing BABA. Part 184 largely does not affect FRA’s existing standards for iron, steel, and manufactured products. Rather, Part 184’s primary effects for FRA-funded infrastructure projects are to add domestic preferences for certain construction materials and additional procedures related to waivers. (See 184.3 for a list of construction materials and 184.6 for construction material standards).

To summarize, FRA grantees will need to comply with 49 U.S.C. § 22905(a) for steel, iron, and manufactured products, and BABA for construction materials. 

On August 16, 2023, DOT announced a public interest Waiver of Buy America Requirements for De Minimis Costs and Small Grants. Domestic preferences are waived for iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials for which the total value of the non-compliant products is no more than the lesser of $1,000,000 or 5% of total applicable costs for the project. (Please note that the "small grants" portion of the public interest waiver does not apply to FRA projects. FRA has a statutory exception for grants under $100,000. 49 U.S.C. § 22905(a)(11).)

Amtrak also is required to adhere to a domestic spending preference.  Either 49 U.S.C. § 24305  or 49 U.S.C. § 22905  may apply to Amtrak projects, depending on the source of funds.  49 U.S.C. § 22905(a) applies when Amtrak is operating under a grant or performing a contract for another grantee applying 49 U.S.C. § 22905(a).  However, 49 U.S.C. § 24305(f) applies when Amtrak is spending from its own capital grant.

FRA will publish incoming waiver requests on this website.  Before becoming final, decisions to grant waiver requests will also be published in the Federal Register and on this site.

Open Waiver Requests 

 

Completed Waivers

   (For informational purposes only. Comment period closed.)

Withdrawn Waiver Requests 

See Also