Coalition supports Congressional committee call for competitive bid study

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A coalition of trade associations working to support infrastructure solutions has come out in support of an Infrastructure investment act amendment that would study procurement practices used to select construction materials.

The Coalition for Affordable and Resilient Infrastructure (CARI) announced Friday that its members support an amendment within the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act that would direct the U. S. Department of Transportation to look at construction material procurement, as well as at how competitive bidding can reduce costs and promote the use of sustainable or innovative materials for infrastructure projects.

The amendment was added to the bill during a mark-up session in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held on June 17. U.S. Rep. Harley Rouda (D-CA) offered up the amendment, which would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct the study within 180 days of the bill’s signing.

“Finding smarter solutions to finally repair, rebuild and modernize our country’s infrastructure is key to driving economic growth and securing a better future for everyone,” said Chris Jahn, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council. “Congressman Rouda has done a tremendous job working with his colleagues to find ways to help communities stretch the limited resources that are available to fund infrastructure projects. We support Congressman Rouda’s amendment for a study of how taxpayer dollars are spent, and we hope it will eventually lead to the elimination of outdated restrictions that prevent communities from considering a full range of cost-effective and resilient materials.”

The INVEST in America Act would allocate nearly $500 billion over the next five years to address the nation’s backlog of road and bridge maintenance and repair, in addition to investing in transit systems and green solutions for America’s infrastructure systems. Drafted by Democrats, the bill has been criticized as being too partisan by House Republicans.

Republicans offered their own infrastructure bill, the Surface Transportation Advanced through Reform, Technology, & Efficient Review (STARTER) Act, which they say offers “pragmatic” solutions to infrastructure, including freight and highway projects, a national highway freight program, truck parking safety improvement, environmental reviews for major projects, formula grants for rural areas, grants for buses and bus facilities, workforce development and national safety programs, among other things.