New York Enacts Buy American Legislation

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Dec 18 2017 |
The recently opened Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which replaced the old Tappan Zee Bridge, was built according to Buy America standards. A new law signed by current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will ensure that future road and bridge projects worth more than $1 million will use American-made iron and steel. | Photo by New York State Thruway Authority

New law requires key infrastructure projects use American-made iron and steel.

Some good news to close out the year:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday signed legislation that makes sure American-made iron and steel is given preference for future road and bridge projects in the Empire State.

“Buy American will help us invest directly in our greatest asset, our workforce, to support economic development and job growth for generations to come,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I am proud to sign this legislation to support hardworking men and women, revitalize infrastructure across the state, bolster the strength of our manufacturing industries and cement our status as a global economic leader.”

All projects worth more than $1 million will now be required to use steel or iron “produced or made in whole or substantial part in the United States and the entire manufacturing process of these items occur in the United States,” according to a statement issued by the governor.

This is important because it ensures that the iron and steel is truly Made in America, and not made overseas and merely reheated when it gets to the United States.

"This will go a long way toward revitalizing the manufacturing industry in this country and right here in New York state. In addition, the newly created manufacturing jobs will pump more dollars into the local economy supporting small businesses. The additional tax revenue… strengthens communities by supporting vital services like education, health care and public safety." Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO

The Buy American law goes into effect on April 1, 2018. It passed with widespread bipartisan support from state legislators.

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said that the new law is “making an investment in the future of our communities by preserving and creating jobs not only in New York, but across the nation.” State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan echoed those thoughts.

“I’m proud to say that we are leveling the playing field to ensure that our state’s most significant infrastructure projects are built with quality materials that are American made, help vitalize our local and national economies, spur job creation, and protect workers right here in our backyard,” Flanagan said.

Labor leaders in the state also supported the Buy American effort, noting that it sets a standard for the rest of the country to follow.

“This is a huge investment in the men and women who build our roads and bridges,” said Mario Cilento, president of the N.Y. AFL-CIO. “This legislation ensures our hard-earned tax dollars are invested right back into our own workforce and not sent overseas.”