The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it is seeking input on its proposed waiver for the application of the Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA) to WIFIA-funded projects.
Particularly, EPA is considering whether to apply BABAA requirements to eligible projects that initiated design plans before May 14, 2022. The agency noted that applying BABAA requirements too early may not be in the public’s interest, since the nation’s water infrastructure is in critical need of rapid repairs and upgrades.
BABAA is a new law that governs domestic preferences for iron and steel, manufactured products, and construction materials for infrastructure projects that receive federal funding.
The law is set to go into effect on May 14, 2022 — however, EPA has been continually soliciting feedback from affected industries and professionals. This latest opening for input could mean changes to how BABAA operates for projects that had begun planning earlier.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) initially mandated BABAA requirements for all projects with loans obligated after May 14. By taking design planning into consideration, some projects may be able to avoid complying with BABAA.