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Salina Home To One Of Only Two FTA-Certified Producers Of Accessible Transit Minivans

Courtesy photo

A Salina manufacturer is now one of two makers of accessible transit minivans to meet the Federal Transit Administration's "Buy America" standards.

The FTA's decision clears the way for ElDorado National in Salina, Kan., and Braun Corporation in Indiana to handle final assembly of transit minivans.

Through the Buy America program, the FTA helps ensure that transit vans, buses, streetcars and rail cars funded with taxpayer dollars are built in the U.S., while using American-made materials and labor.

Buy America rules require that at least 60 percent of the components in transit vehicles be manufactured in the United States.

Braun and ElDorado National petitioned FTA separately earlier this year to learn whether their manufacturing processes for converting Chrysler and Dodge min-ivans into wheelchair-accessible vehicles for use by public transit agencies met FTA's Buy America requirements for final assembly. They did.

The companies employ hundreds of workers to convert the vans, and then suppliers around the country provide door panels, ramps and other custom parts.

When she's not out making lattes in her mobile coffee bus Sunflower Espresso, Kate Hutchens is a fill-in host for KMUW. She has worked in broadcast journalism at KFDI, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and at KMUW as Morning Edition host, which she did until March 2017.