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Manufacturing Savvy

'Should be Made in America'

While it's a twist on "Made in America" this new media campaign undertaken by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, is pointing out infrastructure items that are foreign made.

Take for example the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Made with American steel by an American company correct? No. The Bay Bridge project was awarded to a state-owned Chinese firm. The reason given for this decision was that it was cheaper to outsource to China. And although the federal government has "Buy America" preferences for American-made materials, the state of California avoided these requirements by financing the project with state funds.

And it's not going over too well with American manufacturers or a workforce that is experiencing high unemployment.

Late last year, U.S. Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV) introduced the Invest in American Jobs Act of 2011 (H.R.3533) to strengthen Buy America requirements for transportation and infrastructure projects.

And last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously adopted an amendment to improve the effectiveness of existing Buy America preferences for transportation projects while also closing loopholes.

Twenty U.S. states are currently considering, or have recently passed, legislation to provide preferences for American steel and manufactured goods in state-level procurement.

It seems the message is getting through as California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation last year to permit local transit agencies to require 100% domestic content in purchases of transit equipment.

And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's (D-NY) administration has asked construction firms bidding on the new Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River to adhere to Buy America requirements.

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