In the Federal Register held on Wednesday, May 25, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published a Temporary Waiver of Buy America Requirements for Construction Materials applicable to funding awards for projects funded under the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through any U.S. Department of Transportation subagency, including the $15 billion in airport funding through the Federal Aviation Administration that SWACCA helped to secure in the Infrastructure Law. This waiver would apply to formula and discretionary grant programs through the Transportation Department for which funding is obligated on or after May 14, 2022 and before November 10, 2022.

The waiver applies to construction materials defined broadly to include basic construction material and supplies, such as: (1) drywall; (2) lumber; (3) cement, aggregates (stone), sand, or gravel; (4) plastic and polymer-based products (including polyvinylchloride, composite building materials, and polymers used in fiber optic cables); and (5) glass (including optic glass). DOT also leaves open the prospect it may shorten the period of the waiver for certain construction materials or take special steps to encourage domestic sourcing based on the knowledge it acquires, including through stakeholder input, but states that any such changes will be subject to a 30-day notice and comment period.

Unless extended, this waiver will expire on November 10, 2022.