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Suggested Citation:"==============." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Buy America Requirements for Federally Funded Rail Projects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22209.
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Background The nation’s freight, intercity passenger, and commuter rail operators need a comprehensive source of informa- tion that can provide authoritatively researched, specific, limited-scope studies of legal issues and problems hav- ing national significance and application to rail transpor- tation. The complex interaction among operators, insti- tutional entities at all levels of government, and private and public sectors creates a multi-level institutional con- figuration affecting rail system planning and operation. To meet similar needs in the highway area, the Trans- portation Research Board of The National Academies inaugurated a legal research project in 1969 under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The highway legal project has been funded continuously since that time, eliciting strong support and approval from the constituency it serves. Similarly, a transit legal research project was implemented in 1992 under the Transit Cooperative Research Program and that project has continued since its inception. Finally, an airport legal research project was implemented in 2006 under the Air- port Cooperative Research Program and continues today. Each year, numerous attorneys nationwide are in- volved in rail-related work, yet there is no centralized repository of legal resources on which they can depend. In response, the National Cooperative Rail Research Program’s (NCRRP) Legal Research Digest series has been initiated to provide rail-related research on a wide variety of legal topics. Applications This Legal Research Digest evaluates and analyzes the requirements of four existing Buy America programs applicable to passenger and freight rail systems, each Legal Research Digest 1 NATIONAL COOPERATIVE RAIL RESEARCH PROGRAM February 2015 BUY AMERICA REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERALLY FUNDED RAIL PROJECTS This report was prepared under NCRRP Project 12-01, “Legal Aspects of Rail Programs,” for which the Transportation Research Board is the agency coordinating the research. The report was prepared by Timothy R. Wyatt, Conner Gwyn Schenck PLLC. Responsible Senior Program Officer: Lawrence D. Goldstein of which present different regulatory and statutory requirements: FRA, FTA, FHWA, and Amtrak. The digest deals with this topic by addressing similarities and differences among the various programs and their applicability to freight and passenger rail environ- ments. In this analysis, “passenger rail” encompasses high-speed, intercity passenger and commuter rail. The analysis also addresses recent agency changes and policy interpretations, including application of waivers. A critical concern involves those projects that are fund- ed through multiple federal funding sources, potential- ly subject to different Buy America requirements. The digest presents strategies for resolving multiple, often confusing components. Buy America provisions have been in existence since the 1933 Buy American Act (BAA), applicable to the procurement of goods by federal and state govern- ment agencies applying federal grants. FRA grant funds were not historically subject to significant domestic preferences or Buy America requirements; however, that dispensation changed in 2008 when Congress en- acted a Buy America provision applicable to FRA grants under the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program. In addition, since 1978, FRA has also been responsible for administering the Amtrak Buy America provision applicable to procurements by Amtrak with funds from its capital grant. To help clarify and understand the various applicable Buy America provisions, this digest discusses the legis- lative history pertaining to Buy America, the applicable federal regulations, and how these regulations have been applied to rail system improvements using federal grants. The author provides guidance that rail counsel will find useful as it pertains to rail-related construction and equipment purchases in conformance with applica- ble federal regulations. TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

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TRB’s National Cooperative Rail Research Project (NCRRP) Legal Research Digest 1: Buy America Requirements for Federally Funded Rail Projects evaluates and analyzes the requirements of four existing Buy America programs applicable to passenger and freight rail systems, each of which present different regulatory and statutory requirements.

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