In Boston, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority wants to use taxpayer funds to pay for locomotives built in Spain. The MBTA is requesting a waiver of Buy America requirements in the Federal Transit Administration statutes in order to allow locomotives to be produced overseas. The Buy America rules are included in the FTA statute to make sure taxpayer funds are used for products made by U.S. workers. The result of such a waiver could set a dangerous precedent for future orders and contracts.
In a letter to the FTA, the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO urges rejection of the request for a waiver. The TTD and its member unions, including TCU, do not see any credible reason why the exemption should be permitted, especially since another bid which meets all requirements has been submitted. Keeping skilled American jobs from being shipped overseas is the rationale for the Buy America rules to begin with.
Rail labor says the FTA must adhere to the Buy America rules already existing and not grant the waiver to the MBTA. The TTD is working to assure requirements remain in effect for this order and not set a precedent for future orders.
Posted November 7, 2008