On June 25, VAA, Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance, Heavy Construction Contractors Association and Old Dominion Heavy Contractors Association sent a joint letter to Virginia’s congressional delegation regarding the impacts of the proposed Buy America language in the INVEST in America Act—the federal transportation funding bill. Initially implemented into law years ago, the act covers the use of steel and iron and federally funded transportation projects. The revised language in the INVEST Act extended the language to cover other construction materials manufactured outside the U.S. with no specific exemptions. While the associations understood the intent, the provision would have a detrimental impact on Virginia’s transportation industry and the overall economy. For example, like many other east coast and mid-west states, Virginia gets the vast majority of liquid asphalt binder from Canada. Removing Canadian binder from the U.S. market would result in a 12% reduction in national supply. Additionally, aggregates and cement are imported into the U.S. By eliminating these materials, project costs would dramatically increase, and the number of projects would be reduced.
The INVEST Act is currently being debated in Congress. Updates on the INVEST Act and the Buy America language will be provided in future newsletters and emails.