Will Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel keep it "Made in America" when rebuilding Chicago?
As Elizabeth Flock reports in her Washington Whispers column at U.S. News & World Report, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is planning a $7 billion set of infrastructure projects. His "Building a New Chicago" initiative includes schools, bus stations, city buildings, parks, and playgrounds.
Here's the big question, though: Will these buildings and other works be made in the USA?
It's a valid question because, as Flock reports, little has been said "about where the materials for the infrastructure projects would come from."
Of further concern is the fact that some funding for the initiative could come from private investment, and thus would be exempt from federal Buy America laws.
Flock cites Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), as worrying that "Chicago would turn to China for materials."
Massively subsidized steel from China could pose particular problems for U.S. firms, even though neighboring Indiana "produces a huge amount of steel."
While only $200 million of the project may be privately financed, a spokesman for the mayor says that the "majority" of the project will be subject to Buy American requirements.
We're a skeptical gang at ManufactureThis, though. We want to hear strong support for buying American-made materials. And will the private investment amount to only $200 million out of $7 billion?
The question remains as to whether Rahm Emanuel will really keep it "Made in the USA."
Photo by Flickr user Vigor, used following Creative Commons license guidelines.
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