Government Regulations

Buy America Act

A number of Buy America laws apply to various federal assistance infrastructure programs. These laws require that American-made municipal castings must be used in federally-assisted, state and local-level public works infrastructure projects that are funded or financed with federal U.S. taxpayer dollars.

As a condition for the award of federal financial assistance from these programs, states must agree to construct transportation infrastructure projects with iron, steel, and manufactured products produced in the United States. These federal-assistance Buy America laws apply to federal assistance provided by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, and AMTRAK. This includes (but is not limited to): efforts to construct, maintain or improve roads, highways, interstates, bridges, airports, transportation infrastructure drainage systems, and utility relocations.

The municipal castings covered by these laws include: access hatches; ballast screens; benches (iron or steel); bollards; cast bases; cast iron hinged hatches, square and rectangular; cast iron riser rings; catch basin inlet; cleanout/monument boxes; construction covers and frames; curb and corner guards; curb openings; detectable warning plates; downspout shoes (boot, inlet); drainage grates, frames and curb inlets; inlets; junction boxes; lampposts; manhole covers, rings and frames, risers; meter boxes; service boxes; steel hinged hatches, square and rectangular; steel riser rings; trash receptacles; tree grates; tree guards; trench grates; and valve boxes, covers and risers.

Waivers may be obtained if applying for these requirements would be inconsistent with the public interest, iron and steel products are not available in sufficient and reasonably available quantities, or the inclusion of domestic materials would increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent.

Canadian Products: Note that while the Buy America regulations of certain federal agencies now define Canadian products as domestic (with some restrictions), Canadian products are considered foreign-made under the Buy America regulations of the Departments of Transportation and Energy.

Penalties: Because the Buy America provisions of the 1991 law explicitly require that iron castings manufactured in U.S. foundries be used for federal transportation infrastructure projects, knowing country of origin is particularly important for purchasing officials who procure iron products for such projects. If a contractor violates the law by using foreign products, the normal remedy is to penalize the contractor by reducing the contract price by an amount equal to the difference between the cost of the foreign material provided and the cost of similar domestic materials. A contractor who falsely certifies that U.S.-made products will be provided may also incur civil penalties under the False Claims Act. Severe penalties exist for a government contractor or subcontractor who deceptively affixes a "Made in the USA" label or intentionally misrepresents the country of origin of a product to be used in a federal highway project. These penalties include placement on the "List of Parties Excluded from Procurement Program" that is circulated to all federal agencies. Moreover, the offending party may be subject to further civil and criminal penalties of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for one year per violation. A construction contractor who fails to comply with the Buy America provisions will be prohibited from receiving any further construction contracts from any federal government agency for a three- year period. The three-year ban also applies to subcontractors or suppliers associated with the contractor.

Learn more at Buy America Act 49 CFR 661, published 10/1/2012

Buy American Act

The Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by congress and signed by President Hoover. The act required the United States Government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases. The Buy American Act applies to all U.S. federal government agency purchases of goods valued over the micro purchase threshold, but does not apply to services. Under the Act, all goods for public use (construction articles, materials, or supplies) must be produced in the U.S., and manufactured items must be manufactured in the U.S. from "substantially all" U.S. materials.

Learn more at Buy American 41 U.S.C. 83, published 1/3/2012

Country-of-Origin Marking Requirements

Imported castings are subject to specific country-of-origin markings in order to legally enter the United States. You should be aware of the Federal country-of-origin marking law and should know that you have the responsibility to play your part in complying with the law.

The U.S. country of origin markings statute, Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U.S.C. § 1304, et seq., requires that every article of foreign origin entering into the United States must be legibly marked with the English name of the country of origin unless otherwise excepted under the law. 19 U.S.C. § 1304. The markings must be “in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or container) will permit,” in a manner that indicates to the “ultimate purchaser” in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article. Id. The “ultimate purchaser” is defined by U.S. Customs’ regulations, 19 C.F.R. § 134.1(d), to be the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported.

The Country of Origin Markings statute requires the country of origin markings be legible, indelible, and permanent. U.S. Customs’ regulations clarify this requirement, stating that the markings requirements are best met by markings “worked into the article” at the time of manufacture. 19 C.F.R. § 134.41. U.S. Customs’ regulations go on to provide that in the case of “metal articles,” the recommended method of marking is by die sinking, cast-in-mold lettering, or etching.

There is a special statutory marking law for manhole rings or frames, covers, and assemblies thereof. That provision states that these products must be “marked on the top surface with the English name of the country of origin by means of die stamping, cast-in-mold lettering, etching, engraving, or an equally permanent method of marking.” Congress created this special marking requirement for manhole rings or frames, covers, and assemblies thereof because the country-of-origin marking law was being evaded significantly by such practices as placing the country-of-origin marking on areas of the casting that would be embedded in concrete or otherwise obscured from view. A significant factor in Congress’ decision to mandate top-side marking was its recognition that members of the public are the purchasers and users of these items – and so the country-of-origin marking should be where the public can easily see it.

Learn more at MCA Country of Origin Marking Requirements

EPA American Iron and Steel (AIS) Provision

Various "American Iron and Steel" laws also apply Buy America requirements to the Nation’s primary federal-assistance programs for clean and drinking water infrastructure. These American Iron and Steel laws require that clean and drinking water projects receiving financial assistance and financing from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), or Water Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act program, or the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service program to use only iron and steel products that were produced in the United States.

Learn more at State Revolving Fund American Iron and Steel (AIS) Requirement

Presidential Executive Order

In 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13788, Buy American & Hire American, directing federal agencies to "scrupulously monitor, enforce, and comply with" applicable Buy American laws.

Learn more at Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American, published 4/18/2017

AASHTO

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) represent all five transportation modes including, air, highways, public transportation, rail, and water. The AASHTO, is a body which sets standards and publishes specifications for products used in the design of highways, specifically, the goal is to allow for the development, operation, and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system.

Learn more at http://www.transportation.org/.

AASHTO M306

Gray iron castings shall be manufactured from iron conforming to ASTM A48, Class 35B, as noted in section 3.1 of AASHTO M306. Ductile iron castings shall conform to ASTM A536. The iron material used in products provided shall have a minimum recycled material content of 75%. The recycled materials shall consist of post-consumer material.

MCA

The Municipal Castings Association (MCA) is a non-profit organization with members dedicated to providing the knowledge and resources necessary to manufacturers, specifiers, and users of cast iron infrastructure products to assure that those products meet all laws, regulations, applicable standards, specifications, and quality requirements pertaining to their purchase and use.

Learn more at www.municipalcastings.org

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