New York to Require US-Made Steel for Road, Bridge Projects

Brooklyn Bridge in New York City at dawn

The New York government’s road and bridge projects worth more than $1 million will have to use U.S.-manufactured steel, including flat metal sheets, as part of a new law.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the “New York Buy American Act.” The law does not restrict state agencies from procuring steel products in other states such as Michigan or Tennessee. It will also help in maintaining demand for steel production in the country.

Job and Economic Growth

Cuomo expects the regulation to bolster economic growth and spur direct and indirect jobs. Effective April 1, several state agencies such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will need to include the use of U.S.-made steel in building contracts.

By then, the state law will help in spurring demand for produced steel. The World Steel Association said that the U.S. ranked as the third largest steel manufacturer in November, up 8.5% year over year to 6.7 million tons. China produced the most tons at 66.2 million, while Japan ranked far behind with 8.7 million tons of steel.

No More Controversial Projects

Aside from supporting demand, New York’s new rule will prevent any controversies for transportation projects, including the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge development in 2013. The issue involved the use of steel made in China, presumably due to savings on cost.

The MTA defended its choice and cited the unwillingness or inability of an American manufacturer to meet the project’s timeline. It would have cost an extra $100 million and would be delayed by up to two years, if the project opted to enter in a contract with an American steel fabricator, according to MTA spokeswoman Judie Glave.

Conclusion

Other states should New York by drafting a similar regulation for the use of steel in infrastructure projects. It will not only help local businesses and jobs but also help the U.S. remain globally competitive.