Steel industry wins fight to overturn federal Buy America waiver

Dec 16, 2010 | 01:48 PM |

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has removed a Buy America waiver for steel pipe needed for a sign support structure in Allegheny County, Pa.

The rescission took effect Thursday, according to a Federal Register notice, reversing an FHWA decision in October that there were "no domestic manufacturers" of the steel pipe—A53 Grade B pipe with a 26-inch outside diameter and a wall thickness of 0.375 inch—required for the stimulus-funded project.

The FHWA move was a hard-fought victory for the domestic steel industry, government documents show.

Buy America policies stipulate that domestic steel or iron products be used in federally funded construction projects, but the rules also allow for waivers when domestic material is not "sufficiently available."

Berg Steel Pipe Corp., Panama City, Fla., won the order to supply pipe for the sign structure, but public comments suggest that one Pennsylvania sign created a debate within the steel industry and between state and federal officials.....

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