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More “Buy America” complications

From the “It’s always something with Metro” department:

The Federal Transit Administration plans to deny the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s request for a waiver from Buy America rules in connection with [a $15.8 million radio equipment] radio purchase from Motorola, FTA spokesman Paul Griffo said.

“During hard economic times, the Obama administration’s goal for taxpayer funds is to invest in the creation of needed jobs here at home,” Griffo said.


In a March 18 letter to the FTA, Metro’s general counsel, Paula Alexander, said the agency was seeking a Buy America waiver for a “sole source” procurement: “There is simply no other product that provides the required interoperability with Harris County’s network.”

With certain exceptions, Motorola is the only vendor approved by Harris County, which is overseeing the system, according to a Jan. 8 letter to Metro from Craig S. Bernard, the county’s director of regional radio services.

Motorola was unable to certify its equipment as compliant with Buy America rules, Metro Police Chief Tom Lambert said. But since no other vendor was available, he said, “we fully expected that we would get approval to do this.”

Guess not. This isn’t a showstopper like the grant for light rail construction would have been – yes, I’m assuming at this point that the voice mail from the past will save their bacon on that score – but it is annoying. One hopes they can find a way around this, but I’m not going to spend too much time worrying about it.

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One Comment

  1. Motorola’s main production facility used to be in Arizona.

    Outsource all the manufacturing jobs, mandate domestic sourcing and then wonder why there is economic paralysis. If Metro needed predator drones or aircraft carriers, finding domestic suppliers would not be a problem.