Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Proposes Rollback of Buy America Manufactured Products Waiver

Posted By: Tom Witt Member and Industry News,

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has proposed a rollback of the waiver on manufactured products used in federal-aid highway projects under Buy America requirements. This proposed rollback is expected to have a significant impact on federally funded construction projects. The public comment period on the proposal is not yet officially open, but it will be available for a 60-day public comment period when published.

Once the proposal is published and open for public comment, VTCA will be coordinating with ARTBA to respond to FHWA's proposal. In addition to VTCA feedback, individual VTCA members are strongly encouraged to review the proposal and provide comments.

Currently, manufactured products are generally exempt from Buy America requirements, thanks to a long-standing waiver issued by FHWA in 1983. This means that a wide variety of items used in infrastructure projects, such as pumps, electronics, and generators, have not needed to be sourced domestically. The proposed rollback targets this general waiver. If implemented, most manufactured products used in federal-aid highway projects would need to comply with Buy America's domestic content requirement and exceed 55% of the total cost of the manufactured product.

The full impact will depend on the final ruling, but it is expected that significant challenges will be encountered by many suppliers and contractors to ensure and document compliance.