Metro Magazine

SEP-OCT 2014

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

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Page 21 of 143

18 < m ETRO m AGAZINE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 of Commerce's manufacturing assis- tance programs collaborated to help the utilities find domestic components for the necessary utilities relocation as part of the Charlotte, N.C. streetcar project. However, those involved will also point out the project was delayed until those suppliers were identified, and the ex- perience proves the delays the industry groups warn about are, if anything, likely elsewhere given the Charlotte episode. Since utilities have not been subject to Buy America requirements before, they will also very likely need waivers, at the very least during the near-term. For ex- ample, electric and natural gas utilities use many specialized products, which are critical to the safety and stability of the transmission and distribution sys- tems, many of which are not available domestically. Thus, waivers are likely to be needed more frequently for util- ity relocations than for other transpor- tation construction activities. Thus, if anything, some kind of waiver process is even more necessary than for rolling stock or other parts of the public trans- portation supply chain. FHWA has issued guidance clearly ex- empting some manufactured products; FTA has no such waiver process as of now. These disparities further compli- letter's signatories represent the sup- ply chains of more than 90% of the roll- ing stock purchased each year in public transportation that is at least partially funded with federal grant programs. WHAT THESE PROPOSALS MISS T hese proposals "demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the economics and logistics of our industry's supply chain," the manu- facturers' letter contends. Te CEOs are referring to some inexorable facts that must be considered in crafting any reg- ulations afect Buy America, not only for rolling stock, but also systems, profes- sional services, or, as touched on earlier, newly applied utilities' suppliers. This constant fact is this: goods and servic- es markets, including those for public transportation, are becoming increas- ingly globalized. In fact, if anything, U.S. requirements are making the American market an is- land in worldwide system of oceans. To illustrate the sense of scale, China and India alone will account for 60% of all new global bus demand over the next decade, according to the Freedo- nia Group. By contrast, the U.S. transit bus market averages around 5,000 units annually, in a global annual market of a half million units of all bus types. This latter fact is important to remember be- cause virtually all component manufac- turers, such as engines, transmissions and smaller components, are in these other markets,and many are in trucking in automotive markets as well. In higher-tech bus markets, the U.S. share may be viewed as a leader, but is losing ground relative to the sheer size of non-U.S. markets. Annual sales of hy- brid buses in China surpassed that of North America's — Canada's, Mexico's and the U.S.' — i n 2011, reaching almost 1,700 units according to Pike Research. Tis is despite the fact the U.S. has been a leader in this segment, thanks to feder- al funding. Orders of hybrid buses com- prise 30% to 40% of annual transit bus sales, yet annual sales of hybrid buses in China surpassed that of North Amer- ica in 2011, reaching almost 1,700 units. Tis is because the Chinese market is so cate utilities' compliance, creating the need for utilities to develop diferent ac- counting systems and different supply chains, one for highway projects and the other for transit projects. HIGHER CONTENT REQUIREMENTS PROPOSED W hile federal agencies are do- ing what it can administra- tively to extend Buy America in unprecedented ways, both the presi- dent and many members of his party in Congress want to see signifcant chang- es to content requirements contained in the existing rules. Te president, as well as several mem- bers of Congress in both the House and the Senate, have proposed legislation that would increase the domestic con- tent of components and subcompo - nents to 100% of a procurement's value. In fact, the only diferences among these proposals are that some contain a phas- ing-in period, while others want imme- diate 100% content compliance. Regardless, the proposals "are unre- alistic, and likely impossible to meet," argues another letter being delivered to U.S. DOT ofcials, this one by the CEOs of the major bus and railcar builders and many of their major suppliers. Te BUY AMERICA BUY AMERICA The global market for rail technology — cars, equipment and systems — totaled $170 billion in 2010, rising to $207 billion by 2015, according to Statistica.

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