WASHINGTON — Greg Regan and Shari Semelsberger, President and Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), released this statement after the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a notice to encourage high-speed rail project sponsors to voluntarily submit their domestic sourcing and workforce plans for review prior to the awarding of any federal funds:
“We applaud the Federal Railroad Administration’s efforts to encourage high-speed rail project sponsors to voluntarily submit their plans to comply with domestic sourcing and Buy America requirements, including potential waivers from these requirements, for review prior to the awarding of any federal funding.
“Waivers from domestic sourcing and Buy America requirements must be used only when absolutely necessary. With respect to high-speed rail, there is utility in identifying any waivers up front in the application process rather than after a project sponsor has already received federal funding.
“As the FRA states in its notice, the complexity and size of high-speed rail projects ‘necessitates aligning any waiver and associated implementation plan with application evaluation processes.’
“Allowing project sponsors to request Buy America waivers after a project has been awarded federal funding could create unintended consequences. The FRA’s proactive approach in this instance to minimize waivers and maximize domestic content is laudable.
“TTD firmly believes that federal funding should maximize the use of made-in-America goods, products, and materials and create good-paying union jobs.
“We appreciate the Biden Administration’s commitment to implementing the Buy America provisions included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which represents a historic step toward making necessary and long-overdue investments across all sectors of our nation’s infrastructure, including high-speed rail.”