AGA submitted a letter to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) docket strongly supporting the request from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for a limited waiver from provisions in the “Buy America”, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. The waiver was necessary for a subset of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) utility materials necessary for relocation project referred to as the “Cordelia I-80/I-680/State Route (SR) 12 Project” which is designed to reduce congestion, accommodate increases in traffic and address safety concerns. The vast majority of materials used on this important highway project will meet Buy America requirements. The public safety and jobs benefits derived from advancing this project are in the public interest.
AGA comments also explained that it is important that the FHWA and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) decide if Buy America requirements should be applied to utility relocation agreements, and if necessary to provide a reasonable framework for utilities to comply without disrupting ongoing projects. AGA believes this framework would need to include several key elements:
- Clarify the requirements.
- Allow a transition period.
- Apply timely, streamlined waivers where appropriate.
- Establish consistent requirements for utility relocations across transportation modes.
- Provide training and education.
Date: July 19, 2013