Metro Magazine

SEP-OCT 2014

Magazine serving the bus and rail transit & motorcoach operations since 1904

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Page 16 of 143

13 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 m ETRO m AGAZINE > Illustration: Ron Rennells Why Do Policymakers Keep Trying to Fix what's Not Broken? curement by more than 10%. Thus for the frst time, the policy debate shifted from that of promoting and growing/ restoring employment through public- sector investment to that of ensuring that domestic companies had a "level playing feld" in an increasingly global- izing marketplace. THE FEDS GET TOUGHER… A s domestic manufacturing em- p l oy m e nt c o nt i nu e d t o d ro p, Congress has acted three times since the 1970s to toughen these rules. Ironically, the frst of these attempts, in 1982, toughened the rules in some ways ties, a market power that was broken up with the Public Utility Holding Compa- ny Act of 1935. Flash forward to the 1970s. Te feder- al involvement in the industry had been growing, accelerating with the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, the early post-war new rail starts and two foreign oil embargoes bookend the de- cade. In the midst of that turmoil, Con- gress also became concerned about the loss of jobs in U.S. manufacturing, in- cluding those employed by transit sup- pliers, and the need to stem that loss. Congress was also concerned about al- legations of unfair trade practices by manufacturers that enjoyed protection and other preferences in their domestic markets, while U.S. companies did not have the same protections. Accordingly, Congress passed the Surface Transportation Assistance Act in 1978, which for the frst time included a Buy America provision that expanded the coverage of the original Buy Amer- ican Act to procurements with federal transit grants, with the following excep- tions. The secretary of transportation could waive the rules if he or she deter- mined that their application was "in- consistent with the public interest," if their application to rolling stock "would result in unreasonable costs," if "domes- tic suppliers were unavailable or of un- satisfactory quality," or if the inclusion of the domestic components and mate- rials would increase the cost of the pro-

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