In 2009, President Obama, together with Vice President Biden and Secretary of Transportation LaHood, articulated a new “Vision for High-Speed Rail in America”. The High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program implements that vision, which includes a goal to bolster American passenger rail expertise and resources. The Buy America requirements reinforce this goal, and aid in encouraging a domestic market in the rail sector.
The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA) authorized the appropriation of funds to establish several new passenger rail grant programs, including capital investment grants to support intercity passenger rail service, high-speed corridor development, and congestion grants. FRA consolidated these and other closely related programs into the HSIPR program, as funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Spending authorized under PRIIA is subject to the Buy America provision of 49 USC § 24405(a).
FRA has begun the process of developing and implementing regulations to govern the application of the Buy America statute to all PRIIA-authorized spending as part of the HSIPR program. As required, the proposed regulation will be published in the Federal Register for public comment under RIN 2130-AC23 (docket number FRA-2010-0147). In the interim, FRA released Buy America & FRA’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) describing its procedures for applying the Buy America provision in the HSIPR program.
Amtrak also is required to adhere to a domestic spending preference. Either 49 USC § 24305 or 49 USC § 24405 may apply to Amtrak projects, depending on the source of funds. 49 U.S.C. §24405(a) applies when Amtrak is operating under a grant or performing a contract for another grantee applying 49 U.S.C. §24405(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
- None at this time.
(For informational purposes only. Comment period closed.)
- NNEPRA Steel Track Nuts non-availability waiver, decided December 16, 2010
- Amtrak Central Block components (power modules, high-speed PLCs, and AGATE controllers) non-availability waiver, decided March 7, 2012
- WSDOT Vossloh Concrete Tie Components (Dowel inserts and SKL-30 tension clamps) non-availability waiver, decided June 19, 2012
- Illinois DOT ITCS Components (ethernet cable, antennae, and router), decided February 12, 2013
- Amtrak 136RE No 32.75 Special Turnouts (ZU 1-60 steel left and right switch point rail sections and Schwihag roller assemblies and plates), decided April 23, 2013