Bill aims to expand 'Buy America' mandate to transportation projects

New legislation aims to expand "Buy America" mandate to cover transportation project materials. | Contributed photo
U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced legislation recently to require federally funded transportation projects to use U.S. steel, iron and manufactured products whenever possible.


“When we make things in America, we grow the middle class in America,” Merkley said. “Ensuring that American taxpayer dollars go to support American businesses and workers wherever possible is just common sense. This legislation will create more jobs, strengthen American manufacturing and ensure that more of our transportation projects are built using high-quality, made-in-America materials.”


“Buy America” standards currently exist for main aspects of highway and water infrastructure, though many projects don’t fall under the requirement.


The Invest in American Jobs Act would expand Buy America provisions so that all major projects overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation would fall under Buy America requirements. Eventually, federally funded transit and Federal Aviation Administration projects will have to meet a 100 percent Buy America standard wherever possible.


“We need to work across party lines to reward made in America hard work and strengthen the economic security of the middle class,” Baldwin said. “I’m proud to join Senator Merkley to introduce this legislation that will give our manufacturing workers and businesses, like our Wisconsin foundries, a fair shot by requiring the use of American-made materials in our nation’s transportation projects.”

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