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Pages 36-38

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From page 36...
... 36 NCHRP LRD 80 that "it is in the public interest to waive the Buy America requirements for a manufactured product whose purchase is $5,000 or less."434 This allows state transportation agencies and other NHTSA grant recipients to purchase "small manufactured products that are largely ancillary rather than central to the purposes of the highway safety grants"435 without seeking individual project-specific waivers for those products, eliminating the need for NHTSA to continue processing most of the types of waiver requests it received from 2013 to 2015. The only exception to the NHTSA Manufactured Products waiver is "the purchase of a motor vehicle," as NHTSA does "not believe that the purchase of motor vehicles can be reasonably viewed as ancillary in the context of these highway safety programs."436 As a result, most NHTSA waivers since June 2015 involve relatively expensive, highly specialized electronic equipment, such as "total stations" -- optical surveying and mapping equipment used for forensic investigation and reconstruction of highway crashes.437 The NHTSA Manufactured Products waiver has effectively eliminated the need for NHTSA to process individual waiver requests for most COTS products.
From page 37...
... NCHRP LRD 80 37 2002, however, concerns arose that the FHWA Buy America provision would increase the reconstruction cost by $200,000,000 (due to higher prices of domestic steel) .442 In 2003, in part to invoke the Price Differential exception, Caltrans announced bidding requirements that would factor "delay costs" for steel delivery into the bid price.443 The design for the bridge called for very large girders, and it was believed that no single domestic manufacturer had the existing facilities to manufacture the girders.444 By imposing a "delay cost" penalty on the domestic bids, the delay-adjusted domestic bids were more likely to be 25% higher than the bids using foreign steel, enabling the lower foreign bids to qualify for the Price Differential exception.
From page 38...
... 38 NCHRP LRD 80 the foreign steel suppliers could.463 The steel shipments from China were finally completed in 2011, resulting in unfavorable publicity for Caltrans and its decision to forego federal funding to avoid the FHWA Buy America requirements.464 At a Congressional hearing in December 2011, a number of members of Congress reiterated to the Secretary of Transportation that application of the Buy America provisions for transportation grants needed to be strengthened, pointing specifically to the Bay Bridge as an example of bad practices by grant recipients.465 B Expanded to all Contracts in a Project In order to address its concerns about segmentation, Congress amended the FHWA Buy America provision as part of the 2012 USDOT appropriations bill known as the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act ("MAP-21")

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