Waiver of Buy America Requirements for De Minimis Costs and Small Grants

A long-standing impediment to effective implementation of the Recreational Trails Program (and other federal funding of trail projects) has been addressed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

by Federal Highway Administration

FHWA published the Waiver of Buy America Requirements for De Minimis Costs and Small Grants.This notice is the waiver. There is no need for waiver applications for projects that meet the criteria of this waiver.

The waiver is applicable only to awards that are obligated or subawards that are made on or after the effective date of the waiver, August 16, 2023. The waiver is applicable to subawards only if the subawards are made by a pass-through entity for a specific project. Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers continue to be subject to the FHWA Buy America EV Charger Waiver.

Based on all the information available to the Agency, DOT finds that it is in the public interest to issue a waiver of BABA's domestic preferences for iron and steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in projects funded under DOT-administered financial assistance programs for iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials under a single financial assistance award for which:

  • The total value of the non-compliant products is no more than the lesser of $1,000,000 or 5% of total applicable costs for the project; or
  • The total amount of Federal financial assistance applied to the project, through awards or subawards, is below $500,000.
    • To make clear: If the total amount of the project is below $500,000, the Buy America requirements for iron, steel, manufactured product, and construction materials is waived. If the total amount of the project is over $500,000, the allowable threshold for noncompliant products is the lesser of $1,000,000 or 5% of total applicable costs for the project. However, if the noncompliant products include iron, steel, manufactured products, the FHWA’s threshold amount of 0.1% of the total contract amount or $2,500 applies.
    • Do manufactured products made of iron or steel (such as snow grooming or trail construction and maintenance equipment) still need to go through the waiver process at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/contracts/waivers.cfm?
      If the total amount of the grooming or trail construction and maintenance equipment project is below $500,000, the answer is NO. If the amount is over $500,000, the answer is YES.

For futher information please contact the appropriate agency below:

  • State Resource Agencies: Please contact your State DOT Buy America contact.
  • State DOTs: Please contact your FHWA Division office.
  • FHWA Divisions: Please contact the FHWA Buy America Team.

Attached document published August 2023

About the Author

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), part of the US Department of Transportation, provides expertise, resources, and information to improve the nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. The Federal-Aid Highway Program provides financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System, other roads, bridges, and trails.

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