The White House is looking to ensure U.S. infrastructure is built using U.S. metals. A memo released by the Biden Administration on April 18 details the requirements and exceptions for federally-funded infrastructure projects to use metals, construction materials, and products manufactured in the United States. The new rules go into effect by May 14 of this year.
The memo, consistent with last fall’s passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill clearing billions of dollars for new roads, bridges, and pipelines and a January 2021 executive order, stipulates that projects built using the federal funds should use 100% U.S.-made iron, steel, and construction materials, as well as at least 55% other manufactured products by cost.
It also, however, includes three conditions for which an infrastructure can escape those guidelines. If the leader of a federal agency finds that enough necessary materials for a project can’t be found in the United States, if the necessary materials would make the project 25% more expensive than if they were sourced elsewhere, or if applying them would “be inconsistent with the public interest” somehow, they can waive the requirements.
Waiver proposals will be made public for at least 15 days, according to the White House memo, and all such waivers will be reviewed by the Made in America Office after a period of required public comment is over.
Despite the allowance for waivers, the Made in America office says its ultimate goal is to “increase reliance on domestic supply chains and reduce the need for waivers” by making the waivers transparent and setting consistent requirements.