NSBA Supports Buy America Reauthorization Proposal
December 2, 2011 from National Steel Bridge Alliance
(Chicago, IL) – House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Ranking Democrat Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va) and several of his fellow committee Democrats yesterday unveiled H.R. 3533, the Invest in American Jobs Act of 2011, which would strengthen existing Buy America provisions for a variety of transportation infrastructure improvements.
"The National Steel Bridge Alliance strongly commends Congressman Nick Rahall (WV-3) for developing this bill and his leadership on this issue," said Roger Ferch, executive director of NSBA. The bill is a response to several recent bridge projects, financed with taxpayer dollars, which circumvented the Buy America provisions and resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs going to workers overseas rather than in America.
"It makes no sense to invest U.S. taxpayer dollars to subsidize the bridge building capacity overseas to help them compete with our industry and our workers at home," explained Ferch. "America's greatest bridges were built by skilled American workers using American milled and fabricated steel. The Buy America protections that were put in place many years ago have been eroded and Congressman Rahall's bill closes those loopholes.”
According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA):
“While bill language has not been released, Rahall did provide a brief summary of the proposed measure. According to that summary, the bill would prevent states from breaking up federal-aid highway, bridge, transit, rail projects into multiple segments and classifying some as state-aid to avoid the Buy America requirements of a federal-aid project. Specifically, the legislation would apply the Buy America protections throughout the scope of the project as characterized in a National Environmental Policy Act record of decision.
“Additionally, the bill would incrementally increase the percentage of components and subcomponents of rolling stock for transit projects and airport ground equipment—such as lights and beacons—which must be made in the U.S. from the current 60 percent to 100 percent by FY 2016. Similar to the infrastructure provisions above, the contracts for transit rolling stock and airport equipment purchases cannot be segmented to evade Buy America requirements. The measure would also expand Buy America applicability to other non-transportation investments often performed by ARTBA members, such as clean water and broadband infrastructure improvements.
“The legislation would retain existing Buy America waiver requirements. For instance, when agency officials determine: applying the requirements would be inconsistent with the public interest; the steel, iron, or manufactured goods is not produced in the U.S. in sufficient and reasonably available quantities or to a satisfactory quality; or the use of steel, iron, and manufactured goods produced in the U.S. for the project will increase the total cost of the project by more than 25 percent. The legislation ensures that the public have notice of and an opportunity to comment on any proposed waiver prior to its taking effect.
“Rahall and his colleagues encouraged House Republicans to incorporate the legislation into the GOP reauthorization proposal currently being developed.”
For more information about NSBA, visit www.steelbridges.org. Visit AISC’s Legislative Action page at www.aisc.org/action to send a pre-written letter to your elected representative urging them to support the Buy America Reauthorization proposal.
For more information contact:
American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information.
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