FHWA published a Notice in the Federal Register this morning requesting comments on the existing general applicability waiver for manufactured products under the existing Buy America waiver authorities.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA or BIL), enacted on November 15, 2021 includes the Build America, Buy America Act (“BABA”). The BABA, which expands the coverage and application of Buy America preferences in Federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure also requires Federal Agencies to review existing general applicability waivers of Buy America (BABA Section 70914(d)). This Review is to include a Notice in the Federal Register that 1) describes the justification for a general applicability waiver; and 2) requests public comments for a period of not less than 30 days on the continued need for the general applicability waiver.
Since 1983 FHWA has had a general applicability public interest waiver of Buy America requirements for manufactured products (Manufactured Products General Waiver). Based on this waiver FHWA does not currently apply the Buy America requirements to manufactured products except for predominantly steel and iron manufactured products and predominantly steel and iron components of manufactured products.
Through this notice, FHWA is soliciting information and suggestions regarding whether it should continue, discontinue, or modify, in whole or in part, the Manufactured Products General Waiver. FHWA is also soliciting information on other issues related to the application of Buy America requirements to manufactured products used in Federal-aid highway projects.
A copy of the Notice and Request for Comments is attached for your use, or you may access it directly here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/03/17/2023-05498/notice-and-request-for-comment-on-fhwas-review-of-its-general-applicability-waiver-of-buy-america
The request for comments is open for 30 days and closes on April 17, 2023. Comments can be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at regulations.gov under Docket number FHWA-2022-0027: https://www.regulations.gov/docket/FHWA-2022-0027
FHWA published a Notice in the Federal Register this morning extending the comment period to May 22, 2023.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Anthony N. Sarhan, P.E.
FHWA – Arizona Division
Deputy Division Administrator