Marketplace - Savannah Maher

Between the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure deal and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, over a trillion federal dollars are available for building and improving American infrastructure over the next decade or so. But under those laws, longstanding “Buy American” rules have been expanded to include new kinds of projects and building materials. That’s holding up some important projects...

Traditionally, he said, Buy American rules have been limited to materials like iron and steel used in transportation projects, and they’ve been easy for companies and government agencies to comply with. But he said the recent expansion of the rules could backfire. 

“Broadband equipment, water and wastewater treatment equipment, construction materials — all of these are products where we’ve seen Buy American rules ratcheted up in ways that have been very problematic,” John Murphy with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, since those products are mostly made overseas.  

The infrastructure law includes funding to stimulate domestic production of those materials, but that could take years. For now, Murphy said, the expanded rules are generating confusion. 

“They cause state and local governments to feel they have to lawyer-up. And this drives up infrastructure costs dramatically,” he said. 

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