USDOT Issues Temporary Exemption from Buy America for Certain Utility Relocations

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Following up on our previous post regarding the uncertainty surrounding the application of Buy America requirements to utility relocations, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has recently released two documents that provide further clarification on the matter.

On July 11, 2013, USDOT circulated an internal memorandum to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Division Administrators and the Directors of Field Services acknowledging that the broadened application of Buy America has created implementation issues for the utility industry and caused delays for ongoing highway construction projects.  To address these concerns, for non-Federally funded utility relocations, FHWA will allow utility companies until December 31, 2013 to take the necessary steps to ensure that the steel and iron products they use are in compliance with Buy America requirements.  On July 12th, the FHWA California Division issued a subsequent letter to the California Department of Transportation further noting that project-specific utility agreements executed on or before December 31, 2013, that do not have federal funding, are exempt from Buy America requirements.

Click on the following links to view the full memorandum and letter.

Thanks to Frank Liu for his assistance with this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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