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Notice of Proposed Buy America Waiver for Replacement Gondola Components

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Federal Transit Administration, DOT.


Notice of proposed Buy America waiver and request for comment.


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) received a request for a waiver to permit the purchase of replacement gondola components that are non-compliant with Buy America requirements using FTA funding. The request is from the Colorado Department of Transportation on behalf of the Town of Mountain Village for its public transportation gondola system. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 5323(j)(3)(A), FTA is providing notice of the waiver request and seeks public comment before deciding whether to grant the request. If granted, the waiver would apply only to FTA-funded procurements by Mountain Village necessary for the current gondola refurbishment projects described herein.


Comments must be received by August 5, 2015. Late-filed comments Start Printed Page 43553will be considered to the extent practicable.


Please submit your comments by one of the following means, identifying your submissions by docket number FTA-2015-0011:

1. Web site: Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the U.S. Government electronic docket site.

2. Fax: (202) 493-2251.

3. Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Docket Operations, M-30, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

4. Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Docket Operations, M-30, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Instructions: All submissions must make reference to the “Federal Transit Administration” and include docket number FTA-2015-0011. Due to the security procedures in effect since October 2011, mail received through the U.S. Postal Service may be subject to delays. Parties making submissions responsive to this notice should consider using an express mail firm to ensure the prompt filing of any submissions not filed electronically or by hand. Note that all submissions received, including any personal information therein, will be posted without change or alteration to For more information, you may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or you may visit

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Richard Wong, FTA Attorney-Advisor, at (202) 366-0675 or

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The purpose of this notice is to provide notice and seek comment on whether the FTA should grant a non-availability waiver for Mountain Village's procurement of certain replacement gondola components for its public transportation gondola system.

With certain exceptions, FTA's Buy America requirements prevent FTA from obligating an amount that may be appropriated to carry out its program for a project unless “the steel, iron, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the United States.” 49 U.S.C. 5323(j)(1). A manufactured product is considered produced in the United States if: (1) all of the manufacturing processes for the product take place in the United States; and (2) all of the components of the product are of U.S. origin. A component is considered of U.S. origin if it is manufactured in the United States, regardless of the origin of its subcomponents. 49 CFR 661.5(d). If, however, FTA determines that “the steel, iron, and goods produced in the United States are not produced in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or are not of a satisfactory quality,” then FTA may issue a waiver (non-availability waiver). 49 U.S.C. 5323(j)(2)(B); 49 CFR 661.7(c).

The Town of Mountain Village provides free public transportation via gondola (also known as a tramway) between Mountain Village and the Town of Telluride. The gondola operates continuous fixed route service 17 hours per day, 7 days per week, 280 or more days per year, serving over 2,000,000 passengers per year. According to Mountain Village, the existing low-speed conveyor components (bearings, pulleys, tires and other related components) and gondola grip components (coil springs, movable jaws, fixed jaws, bearings, bolts, bushings, wheels and other related components) are nearing the end of their useful service lives and are showing signs of wear and fatigue. Without periodic capital equipment replacement/rebuild, the likelihood of mechanical downtime increases significantly, equating to prolonged service outages for commuters. Mountain Village also needs to refurbish the 59 gondola cabins due to wear and tear. Mountain Village intends to replace these gondola components over several phases during the coming years. Specifically, procurement of the low-speed conveyor components and the grips will be procured in two phases, one in 2015 and one in 2016; parts for the cabin refurbishment are anticipated to be procured over a six-year period. Any non-availability waiver granted would be effective for all phases of these projects, but would expire upon completion of these projects.

Mountain Village asserts that there are no companies that manufacture these gondola components in the United States and that each of the gondola components to be procured is only available from a single source, the original equipment manufacturers. The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board (CPTSB) has agreed and concluded that, because gondolas are specialized and the market limited, there are no aftermarket manufacturers for these gondola components. CPTSB has concluded that, for these parts, there are no alternatives to the original equipment manufacturers, Dopplemayer and CWA, which do not manufacture the components in the United States. Although there is a new U.S. manufacturer for tramways in the United States, it does not produce detachable tramways like the one used by Mountain Village. In addition, parts for the remainder of the tramway are of a different design and cannot be used in other gondola systems.

The purpose of this notice is to publish the Colorado Department of Transportation request, made on behalf of Mountain Village, and seek public comment from all interested parties in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 5323(j)(3)(A). Comments will help FTA understand completely the facts surrounding the request, including the effects of a potential waiver and the merits of the request. A full copy of the request has been placed in docket number FTA-2015-0011.

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Dana C. Nifosi,

Deputy Chief Counsel.

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[FR Doc. 2015-17909 Filed 7-21-15; 8:45 am]