On July 28, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a request for information on how new “Buy America” requirements for construction materials on federally assisted projects should be implemented. Enacted in November 2021, the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act expanded and made significant changes to Buy America requirements for federally funded infrastructure projects.
The IIJA requires the following Buy America preferences and broadens the preferences to include nonferrous metals, such as copper used in electric wiring; plastic- and polymer-based products; glass, including optical fiber; and certain other construction materials, such as lumber and drywall:
All iron and steel used in the project are produced in the United States. This means all manufacturing processes, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States.
All manufactured products used in the project are produced in the United States. This means the manufactured product was manufactured in the United States, and the cost of the components of the manufactured product that are mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States is greater than 55% of the total cost of all components of the manufactured product, unless another standard for determining the minimum amount of domestic content of the manufactured product has been established under applicable law or regulation.
All construction materials are manufactured in the United States. This means that all manufacturing processes for the construction material occurred in the United States.
The RFI seeks information on how to identify and categorize construction materials, establishing procedures for certifying the origin of materials, and determining which materials are not produced in the United States in sufficient quality or quantity.
As outlined in a previous letter to OMB on Buy America requirements, ABC supports careful study and extensive public comment prior to implementation of these requirements. While ABC supports strategies to expand domestic jobs and manufacturing to avoid global supply chain disruptions and capture economic benefits within America, Buy America requirements must be balanced with safeguards against increased costs and delays of infrastructure projects funded by taxpayers.
Comments responding to the RFI are due by Aug. 12. ABC will be submitting comments and will continue to participate in the regulatory process as Buy America requirement are implemented.