On Sept. 8, the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) submitted comments forcefully objecting to the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) proposed expansion of Buy America requirements on vehicles, equipment, and retrofits funded through the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvements (CMAQ).
The association supports a level playing field for all distributors and has consistently objected to federal proposals that would discriminate against dealers based on what brand(s) of equipment they sell. Buy America rules drive up project costs, lead to unnecessary delays and administrative burdens for contractors and suppliers, and are impractical given global sourcing of equipment and components. Most recently, AED was instrumental in preventing Congress from expanding the requirements to construction equipment used on projects during the drafting of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.
Among other things, AED said in its comments to the FHWA that the proposal would institutionalize discrimination against some American companies to the benefit of others, cause market distortions, and potentially deny CMAQ participants access to the newest, cleanest, most efficient technology.
AED also questioned the FHWA's legal authority to mandate Buy America for CMAQ. "The proposal is ultra vires and we urge FHWA to abandon it," AED said. The association called on FHWA to issue a supplemental notice explaining the legal basis for the program expansion before moving forward.
Although the comment period has officially closed, as of this month's Washington Insights publication, FHWA generally reviews and considers comments submitted late. To view the docket and weigh in yourself, go to: http://ow.ly/oYOXD.