THE LATEST: At the expense of YOUR highway projects, jobs, and funding, the Federal Highway Administration is moving to throw out decades-old supply chain precedent for good politics.
Tell Secretary Buttigieg to leave the Buy America manufactured products waiver in place and focus on fixing the supply chain and reducing highway fatalities.
WHAT TO DO: It takes less than 45 seconds to send the prewritten message telling the U.S. DOT that you support the current waiver! You can also add your own personal comments about the need to have sensible Buy America requirements that help build America and strengthen domestic manufacturing.
WHY IT MATTERS: Removing this waiver would make it very difficult—if not impossible in some cases—to domestically source all highway project manufactured products (lighting, signals, electrical, etc.) and construction materials (concrete, precast concrete, cement, etc.) as:
- Contractors will bear ultimate responsibility and liability—such as liquidated damages, suspension, or debarment—for determining whether products/materials were domestically made.
- If an item is not made in America, contractors will have to wait for a product-specific waiver process without a deadline to work its way through FHWA, the U.S. DOT Office of the Secretary and the White House. One state DOT reflected that it would be faster to completely redesign and rebid a project than complete this waiver process.
- Contractors could face liquidated damages for project delays caused while waiting on the product-specific waiver process.
THE DETAILS: FHWA granted the waiver in 1978 after it found that many essential materials were not made domestically and the ones that were available would not be negatively impacted by foreign competition. FHWA reviewed the 1978 waiver numerous times. Each time the initial reasoning for the waiver has stayed true throughout the 45 years it has been in effect.
To be clear, AGC supports actions to strengthen the manufacturing capacity of the United States, but those actions should not come at the expense of highway contractors and the construction industry. Learn more about this issue.