On Aug. 31, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration released a proposed waiver of Buy America requirements for the construction of electric vehicle chargers receiving federal assistance.
The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law in November 2021, included the “Build America, Buy America Act,” which expanded and made significant changes to Buy America requirements for federally funded infrastructure projects. The IIJA broadens Buy America preferences to include nonferrous metals, such as copper used in electric wiring; plastic- and polymer-based products; glass, including optical fiber; and certain other construction materials, such as lumber and drywall. The IIJA also includes $7.5 billion for EV charging stations with the goal of installing 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030.
The waiver would take a phased approach to establishing Buy America requirements for federally assisted EV charger projects. Initially, it would waive Buy America requirements for all EV chargers. Starting on Jan. 1, 2023, EV chargers assembled outside of the United States would not be covered by the waiver. From July 1, 2023, EV chargers would need to contain 25% American-made components by cost to qualify for the waiver. Finally, on Jan. 1, 2024, this number would increase to 55%. The waiver would then stay in place until terminated by the DOT.
Comments on the proposed waiver are due by Sept. 30 and can be submitted using regulations.gov.