ATSSA submits comments on Buy America waiver

Comment period for industry feedback closes May 13

This week, ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner submitted comments to Shailen Bhatt, administrator, FHWA on behalf of ATSSA members and the industry regarding the Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements.

“ATSSA members are generally in favor of increasing the capacity to procure and produce domestically sourced manufactured products for use on surface transportation projects.  However, ATSSA members have advocated for the retention of the longstanding general interest waiver of Buy America requirements for manufactured products that has been in place since 1983 and are extremely concerned with the impacts that this NPRM could have on the timely and cost-effective delivery of much-needed roadway safety infrastructure improvements. Therefore, ATSSA again urges FHWA not to discontinue the Manufactured Products General Waiver.” Read the full letter.

These comments submitted are broader in nature, designed to cover the concerns of the entire roadway safety industry.

Background

On March 12, 2024, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register, proposing the elimination of the longstanding general interest waiver of Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements for manufactured products. The elimination of this waiver would mean that manufactured products and devices previously exempted from Buy America standards would now need to comply with the domestic content requirements included in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA). ATSSA has received an overwhelming amount of feedback from its members over the last two years regarding the negative impacts that the expansion of products that will have to comply with Buy America requirements would have on the roadway safety infrastructure industry and individual businesses.

The proposed action in this NPRM would exacerbate the negative impacts of the Buy America provisions of the IIJA – and ATSSA is asking for your input and expertise in the form of comments submitted to FHWA regarding this proposal. Within the NPRM is a Request for Information (RFI) related to the potential use of targeted waivers by FHWA for products that are not or cannot be produced currently in the United States to comply with Buy America standards. FHWA defines targeted waivers as time-limited and would allow for the use of foreign manufacturing as domestic production ramps-up. Additionally, FHWA seeks to understand supply chain constraints and specific situations where highway construction projects would be economically impacted negatively because of the Buy America requirements being applied to manufactured products. This information will be used by FHWA when determining the need for targeted waivers.

Take Action

ATSSA has provided a roadmap and an outline to assist members and ATSSA Chapters in submitting their own comments regarding the NPRM, and the RFI regarding targeted waivers.

It is important that the comments submitted by members should be specific to YOUR PRODUCT. Document the challenges your business will face with the potential application of Buy America requirements on manufactured products, as well as the need for your product to receive a targeted waiver if, in fact, these requirements are put into place. The deadline to submit your comments is May 13. This is your opportunity to advocate directly on behalf of you and your business.

Submit your comments by May 13

Please contact ATSSA’s Vice President of Government Relations Cameron Greene (Cameron.greene@atssa.com) with any questions or need for additional information.
For more information regarding Buy America, Build America, you can view two separate virtual town halls hosted by ATSSA, “Final Guidance,” from September 2023, and “FHWA Update,” from February 2024.

Published Date

May 7, 2024

Post Type

  • News

Topic

  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Government Relations
  • Policy

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