President Donald Trump signed an executive order late last month promoting – and potentially requiring – expanded use of U.S.-made materials including cement on federally-financed infrastructure projects. The directive strengthens the administration’s “Buy American, Hire American” stance.
“We want American roads, bridges and railways and everything else to be built with American iron, American steel, American concrete and American hands,” said President Trump at an Oval Office signing ceremony.
According to CNN, Peter Navarro, director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy at the White House, told reporters that the executive order “makes clear that we extend the coverage for ‘Buy American,’ not just to things like iron and steel and aluminum, but also to cement and other manufactured products.”
The executive order gives agencies 90 days to begin encouraging recipients of new federal financial assistance “to use, to the greatest extent practicable, iron and aluminum as well as steel, cement, and other manufactured products produced in the United States in every contract, subcontract, purchase order, or sub‑award.” Within 120 days, each affected agency is to submit a report to President Trump and Navarro identifying “any tools, techniques, terms, or conditions” that can further the executive order’s objectives, and analyzing any potential ways to require use of domestic steel, cement and other manufactured products where it is not done now.
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) said it would stay in close communication with the Federal Highway Administration and other agencies as they interpret and carry out tasks relating to the executive order. The association is concerned that the implementation of the “Buy American” requirements could increase federal-aid project costs and delays.