Transportation Committee Floats Buy American Mandate for Public Projects

December 2, 2011

A new proposal in the House Transporation and Infrastructure Committee would instill more stringent Buy American provisions on all infrastructure projects.

In a statement released by The Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA), bill H.R. 3533, the Invest in American Jobs Act of 2011, would require that all steel, iron and manufactured goods for infrastructure projects financed with federal money come from domestic sources, consistent with international trade agreements, and would subject any waiver to a 30-day public review process and employment impact analysis.

Published reports indicate some measure of support for the bill from committee chair John Mica, who might let it be incorporated into a surface transportation bill.

I’m basically for it,” Mica told “In principal, I’m a Buy America kind of guy.”

WWEMA President Dawn Kristof Champney said, “It is amazing that the sponsors of this bill have ignored the negative consequences that resulted when the same protectionist measures were imposed on municipal water and wastewater projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including project delays, price escalations, administrative burdens, reduced competition even among U.S. companies, and retaliation from trading partners, further hampering the ability of U.S. companies to compete effectively in markets domestic and abroad,” stated

“There is a major difference between raw materials and complex technologies.  This action could dramatically set our industry back if U.S. companies are unable to utilize their international supply chains to provide the most innovative, cost-effective technologies to meet our nation’s enormous infrastructure challenges,” she said.