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Buy American, Build Nothing

Judge Glock writes in The Wall Street Journal about the problems of “Buy America” requirements.

The C3 Take
  • Buy America provisions were created in the 1970s and require transportation projects receiving federal funding to use steel, iron and manufactured goods made in the U.S.
  • The 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law expanded Buy America requirements to include products such as glass, lumber and drywall and expanded the definition of infrastructure to include broadband and utilities.
  • These protectionist provisions have been difficult to follow and have hamstrung the completion of key infrastructure projects.
  • Lawmakers can stretch taxpayer dollars further by reducing onerous regulations like these and by modernizing the permitting process.

“All the mandates, waivers, and box-checking add time and cost to government purchases. The law itself says BABA can increase costs by up to 25% on the entirety of a project. But according to some studies, products subject to Buy America requirements can easily cost more. The Federal Highway Administration, which already had to adhere to the old Buy America law, this month estimated that some of the new BABA requirements could cost more than $700 million a year to implement, although the agency admitted it didn’t calculate the expense of compliance and delays.”

Read the full article here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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