It’s Official: New Jersey Strengthens Buy American

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Jun 28 2021 |
An aerial shot of a highway making its way through a suburb near Englewood, New Jersey. Getty Images

A new law requires that Made in America iron and steel be used in certain state taxpayer-funded highway and bridge projects – down to the nuts and bolts.

In a big win for American workers, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Buy American Act last week, ensuring that certain state-funded highway and bridge projects will use American-made iron and steel.

The measure had widespread bipartisan support, unanimously passing the state assembly in a 73-0 vote and the state senate in a 39-0 vote. More than 400 Alliance for American Manufacturing supporters in New Jersey voiced their support for the measure, too.

Murphy signed the legislation after recommending a handful of changes to the bill text, including ensuring that all Buy American also applies to “miscellaneous components of a project, such as nuts and bolts.”

It’s worth noting that the new law won’t just have an impact in the Garden State. New Jersey maintains close ties to the state of New York, which made its own Buy American law permanent in 2020, and the bill signed by Murphy closely mirrors the New York legislation. Having complementary Buy American preferences on the books will make sure agencies like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey purchase American-made products.

And New Jersey isn’t alone in taking action to strengthen Buy American this year. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a bill to expand Buy American preferences to construction projects at the Lone Star State’s colleges and universities, for example.

In Maine, lawmakers recently approved the Buy America, Build Maine Act. That legislation is now headed to Gov. Janet Mills for approval, and we hope she will follow the lead of her fellow governors in New Jersey and Texas and sign the bill.