New Buy America Website Already Creating Jobs
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the creation of a new Buy America website that will enhance American manufacturing companies' ability to supply the materials used to construct our roads, bridges and other federally-funded transporation projects. The website - www.dot.gov/buyamerica - will serve as a one-stop resource for companies seeking to locate business opportunities before imported goods are allowed to be used in lieu of our Buy America laws.
Buy America laws require the use of American-made iron, steel and other manufactured goods where tax dollars are used to build roads, bridges, and other transporation infrastructure projects. However, waivers are sometimes requested - and granted - when it appeas that a needed component is not produced domestically or exceeds a specified cost threshold. Before the waiver can be granted, the waiver request is typically made available to the public for a period of at least 15 days. In the past, however, it has been difficult for companies to locate Buy America waiver requests posted only to the Federal Register. This new Buy America website will make waiver requests available in one, easy to find location, supporting effective use of American tax dollars and the creation of American jobs.
For proof that waiver transparency works, look no further than a Recovery Act project on SR60 in Alleghany County, PA. After issuing a Buy America waiver request in October 2010, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) received feedback during the 15-day comment period that the stell pipe in question could, in fact, be produced domestically. After verifying with Pennsylvania transportation authorities (PennDOT), they have decided to rescind the waiver. This means that American workers will create this product instead of importing steel pipe from a foreign factory.
A similar success story occurred in 2009 when AAM reported that it had conducted research and successfully voided another FHWA Buy America waiver request to use imported manganese turnout castings and weld kits. As it turned out, the comment period allowed AAM to locate an American producer, which supplied its product for use in the Oregon transportation project. Again, the American supply chain will reap the added benefit of this taxpayer investment.
When a Buy America waiver is granted despite the presence of an American manufacturer, tax dollars support job creation in Chinese factories or elsewhere and do nothing to bring down our 10 percent unemployment. More than 5.5 million American manufacturing jobs and over 50,000 factories have been lost in the last decade. We commend Secretary LaHood for recognizing the need to support American manufacturing.
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