Terri Lynn Land’s Transportation Plan is… Interesting

Posted by elizabethbb on 08/28/2014

We’re a nonpartisan bunch at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM). We work with politicians on both sides of the aisle who are willing to take real action to support American manufacturing jobs, and we don’t take sides in Congressional races.

That said, we’re concerned about Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land’s plan for Michigan’s “Roads, Bridges and Highways.”

The Republican Land is running against Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) for Michigan's Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D). We had a few questions about Land’s position on foreign trade earlier this summer, which she appears to have since answered.

Her transportation plan, however, is another story. On the surface, it looks like she’s going with the whole anti-Washington approach that is so popular among candidates these days. Take a look:

My plan is simple: let’s keep about 15 cents per gallon of what Michigan’s motorists and truckers pay in federal gas taxes when we fill up our tanks. We know how to fix our roads and bridges, and what solutions work to reduce traffic congestion and keep Michigan roads safe. We do not need D.C. telling us what to do or how to do it.

Land continues:

Eliminate Federal Bureaucratic Red Tape: States lose up to 20% of our gas tax dollars complying with Washington’s rules and regulations. Cutting out the federal government will save billions of dollars over the long term. That means more money spent on asphalt and steel, and less on red tape.

Here’s the problem: Land’s plan would eliminate federal Buy America requirements, which ensure that the steel, iron, and other manufactured goods that go into Michigan’s roads, bridges, and highways are Made in America, whenever possible.

And by eliminating federal Buy America preferences, her plan would make it much easier for foreign-made steel and other materials to make their way into Michigan’s infrastructure projects. There is no comparable state law to ensure that American-made steel, iron, and manufactured goods are used, so Land’s plan almost certainly would mean that more foreign materials would be sourced.

(We won’t even go into detail about what happens when foreign steel is used in infrastructure projects — just look at the ongoing saga of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for some context.)

Land’s anti-Washington rhetoric might seem appealing considering how little D.C. has gotten done these days, but ultimately it would hurt American workers and businesses … and benefit foreign companies.

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