Action: Notice, request for comments.
Web posting date: 11/13/2009
Federal Register Notice of Finding Publication Date:
Effective Date of Federal Register:
Close of public comment period:
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is seeking comments on whether a waiver of the Buy America requirements of 23 CFR 635.410 should be granted to permit the use of non-domestic #20, 141# Turnouts (Manganese turnout castings, U69 guard bar, LV Braces)
Weld kits: (Molds, ThermitilPortion, Igniters, and Crucibles) in the state of Oregon.
FHWA will only consider a Buy America waiver when the conditions of 23 CFR 635.410( c) have been met: (1) when the application of the provision would be inconsistent with the public interest; or (2) when steel and iron products are not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities, which are of a satisfactory quality.
The FHWA will consider all comments received in the initial 15-day comment period during our evaluation of the waiver request. Comments received after this period, but before notice of our finding is published in the Federal Register, will be considered to the extent practical. Follow-up coordination on the comments received may result in a delay in the publication of our waiver finding in the Federal Register. Comments received during the 15-day comment period after notice of our finding is published in the Federal Register will be reviewed, but the finding will continue to remain valid. Comments received during the comment period after the effective date of the finding will be reviewed, and may influence the FHWA's decision to terminate or modify a finding.
State DOT contact: Bob Melbo (503)-986-4137
|Brian Abbott 11/13/2009|
A waiver should not be granted to use non-domestic manganese turnout castings or "LV" braces. These items are produced domestically in VAE Nortrak's foundry in Decatur, Illinois. |
|Robert I. Melbo 11/25/2009|
I am the State Rail Planner for the Rail Division of the Oregon Department of Transportation in Salem, OR. Based on input from the Buy America waiver applicant and other sources, it appears that two of the three turnout components for which the waiver was being sought are produced domestically. These two items are the LV brace and the frog casting. Both reportedly are manufactured by VAE Nortrak at its foundry in Illinois. The U69 guard rail is not manufactured in the U.S. Twelve of them are required for this project. Regarding the weld kits, these are domestically produced but the weld mix that creates the exothermic reaction resulting in an aluminothermic weld contains imported ingredients. None of these ingredients are ferrous in nature but when activated between rail ends in the field by the welding crew the chemical reaction creates steel. |
|Jeff Harris 11/27/2009|
The rail section required to produce the U69 guard rail is not currently rolled by any mill in the United States. |
Though the manganese turnout(frog) castings, and "LV" braces may be available at the foundry in Decatur, IL, it is unclear as to whether or not they are produced in sufficiently and reasonably available quantities, or of satisfactory quality to meet the requirements of Class 1 railroads. We are unaware of any test locations or written approvals regarding these materials.
The State of Illinois has already granted a waiver for the materials in this request.
|Brian Abbott 12/02/2009|
VAE Nortrak has the requisite No. 20 141# patterns in hand at Decatur. Mn castings could be produced on very short order. Castings from Decatur meeet or exceed all AREMA and Class I specifications. To date, more than 1,000 Mn castings have been supplied from Decatur into U.S Class I and transit applications. The Decatur foundry has also successfully supplied castings to "Buy America" projects both through VAE Nortrak and competitor trackwork manufacturers. |
|Tina DeMao 12/05/2009|
I am a field coordinator for the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM). We have investigated this waiver request and found that the American operations of Nortrak Corporation do in fact manufacture the following items in this waiver request: |
1 - Manganese turnout castings
2 - LV Braces
Therefore we believe a waiver on these two items is inappropriate and should be denied.
If you wish to discuss our findings in more detail, please feel free to contact me at:
Tina DeMao, Field Coordinator
Alliance for American Manufacturing
Alliance for American Manufacturing
727 Fifteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005