November 14, 2008

Crapo, Simpson, Bieter Help Retain Rail Jobs; Buy America Waiver Denied

Federal agency rules in favor of MotivePower

Washington, DC - The Federal Transit Authority has agreed to reject the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) waiver request of the "Buy American Act" to its federally funded procurement of at least 28 passenger rail locomotives. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, Representative Mike Simpson and Boise Mayor David Bieter had asked that the FTA deny the waiver request because it could cost hundreds of American jobs, not only in Boise but across the country.
"Buy America" requirements require transit agencies buying new equipment to demand American assembly and 60 percent American parts when using federal matching dollars. MotivePower, Inc. (MPI), which is based in Boise, was the only domestic bidder on the project with a fully compliant bid. A company based in Spain, Vossloh Espana S.A., also wanted to supply a bid, but without the waiver it was non-compliant in price and schedule with MotivePower.

"We must protect jobs for Idaho families," Crapo said. "It would be a travesty to use American taxpayer dollars and a loophole in American law to allow this sophisticated technology and the jobs related to it to be lost to overseas competitors. We are pleased with the FTA's ruling."

"This decision affirms our belief that MotivePower and its Idaho workforce produce a superior product and are rightfully entitled to the protections of the Buy America Act," said Simpson. "I am grateful the FTA declined this waiver request and happy to see these important jobs stay in Idaho."

"This is great news not just for MotivePower and for Idaho but for American jobs in general," Bieter said. "I'm pleased that the FTA saw the wisdom of allowing U.S. companies to compete fairly. My hat is off to Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Mike Simpson for all their hard work to keep these jobs in Idaho."

"We are very pleased with this news and express our great thanks to Senator Crapo, Congressman Simpson, Governor Otter, Mayor Beiter, all of the elected officials, labor unions and our U.S. suppliers who supported MotivePower and its employees in this process," said Mark Warner, Vice President and General Manager of MotivePower. "We look forward to working with MBTA and we will hopefully now be able to finalize a deal to build locomotives in Boise."

In a letter today to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Federal Transit Administration Deputy Administrator Sherry E. Little wrote the request for a waiver was being denied because "MBTA has not established sufficient grounds for a public interest waiver. MBTA has not argued that this procurement involves the introduction of significant new technology. Nor has it stated how a waiver would benefit the riding public."