Thursday, September 9, 2010

Busted! Houston Violates Buy American Provision, Gets in Bed with Spanish


After a four-month investigation, the Federal Transit Administration has ruled that the city of Houston knowingly and systematically violated the ‘Buy American’ provision of the Stimulus Bill, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, when it awarded two light rail procurement contracts to a Spanish firm Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles.

The Buy American Provision states that any construction, procurement or maintenance of transportation facilities undertaken with Stimulus Bill funds must be 100 percent American, down to the screws and nails.

In a hand-delivered letter to the newly-selected Houston Metro Board Chairman Gilbert Garcias and Acting President/CEO George Greanias, FTA Administrator Peter Rogof wrote:

“The results of the investigation are both alarming and disturbing. They reveal a series of systematic efforts through which Metro and CAF sought to bypass numerous federal rules. These rules are designed to ensure the integrity of procurements involving taxpayer funds and the requirement to use taxpayer funds in a manner to maximize the creation and sustainment of well-paying jobs here at home. The Administration will vigorously enforce these requirements, both now and in the future.” Read more here.