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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have signed a new interagency agreement designed to make it easier for manufacturers and transit agencies to meet federal "Buy America" rules.The new agreement will help agencies and manufacturers more easily identify domestically made products, such as rolling stock and other steel and iron components, that comply with the FTA's Buy America program, FTA officials said in a press release.Buy America requires at least 60 percent of components to be manufactured in the United States. The FTA helps to ensure that rail cars, streetcars, transit vans and buses that are funded with tax dollars are built in the United States with American labor and materials.Under the new pact, the NIST will help FTA identify U.S. companies that manufacture or have the capability to produce products for the transit industry that are difficult to source or are unavailable in the United States, FTA officials said. The NIST's efforts will help "maximize compliance and minimize waiver requests" that seek Buy America exemptions from the U.S. Department of Transportation, they added."Our goal is simply to make sure that we invest America's taxpayer dollars into America's transit workforce and industry," said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. Between 2008 and 2012, FTA reduced the number of Buy America waivers allowing companies to source their materials off-shore from 37 to three, "which clearly shows that our industry partners are finding new and innovative ways to make and assemble transit vehicles and other components here at home," he said.
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