Effects of Buy America on Transportation Infrastructure and U.S. Manufacturing

Congress over the years has passed several domestic content laws that aim to protect American manufacturing and manufacturing jobs. In 1978, Congress began placing domestic content restrictions on federally funded transportation projects that are carried out by nonfederal government agencies such as state and local governments. These restrictions are commonly referred to as the Buy America Act, or more simply, Buy America; they differ from requirements under the Buy American Act of 1933, which governs purchases made directly by the federal government. Although there has been ongoing congressional interest in domestic preference policy over the years, statements and actions by the Trump Administration concerning the need to bolster domestic manufacturing and investment in infrastructure have reinvigorated the issue. Today, Buy America refers to several similar statutes and regulations that apply to federal funds used to support projects in highways, public transportation, aviation, and intercity passenger rail, including Amtrak. Unless a nationwide or project-specific waiver is granted, Buy America requires the use of U.S.-made iron and steel and the domestic production and assembly of other manufactured goods, such as rolling stock used in public transportation. To evaluate the implications of Buy America on the domestic economy, the report examines industry trends in the two most directly affected industries: iron and steel manufacturing and railcar and bus manufacturing. It also discusses the effects of Buy America on the transportation system. In addition, the report reviews legislative proposals introduced in recent Congresses that consider strengthening Buy America in transportation or broadening it to other infrastructure sectors.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Version 8
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 26p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01711614
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: R44266
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 5 2019 8:06AM