The U.S. government provides major resources to help municipalities rebuild crumbling infrastructure. It’s critical that this new construction incorporates innovative technologies and advanced materials, in order to produce sustainable and resilient infrastructure systems that will last for several generations.
Unfortunately, many local governments impose restrictions on which construction materials can be used. These restrictions are relics of the past, often dating back to an era when only one material was available – before the advent of many beneficial technological advancements in infrastructure materials.
Coalition members agree: To help maximize resources and build a more sustainable, resilient infrastructure, we must modernize procurement processes and eliminate outdated restrictions. That’s where the SMART Infrastructure Act comes in.
ELIMINATING MATERIAL MANDATES ...
Increases free-market competition, lowering costs and increasing the return on taxpayers’ investment
Increases government transparency while weakening virtual monopolies
Unleashes the use of innovative, sustainable solutions and increases the quality and long-term success of local infrastructure projects
Unlocks innovation by creating new opportunities for advanced materials and new technologies
The SMART Infrastructure Act provides the balance needed to ensure that both innovation and the professional judgment of engineers combine to deliver the best possible results for taxpayers with federally-funded projects.
The National Taxpayers Union
Granting governments procuring federally funded infrastructure projects the authority to choose from a variety of quality materials is a win-win for the environment, sustainability efforts and taxpayers.
Associated Builders and Contractors
What is the SMART Infrastructure Act?
The Sustainable Municipal Access to Resilient Technology in Infrastructure (SMART Infrastructure) Act would help lift restrictions on construction materials and encourage municipalities to use an open, competitive bidding process when spending federal dollars on local infrastructure projects. By introducing competitive options, these reforms would maximize the use of taxpayer dollars and encourage the development of more sustainable and resilient solutions.
Will the SMART Infrastructure Act put policies in place that will favor specific materials?
The bill is simple in what it does — it allows infrastructure project engineers to consider all materials and select the best option based on merit that works for their project. The legislation is not material-specific and gives no preference to any single material. It leaves the final decision to the local design engineer to choose the most suitable material.
Does the SMART Infrastructure Act promote the selection of materials based cost alone?
There is nothing in this legislation that mandates, requires, or even suggests that selection will be based on price. The fact is competition reduces costs – regardless of the final material selected. As just one example, a recent study of water infrastructure projects shows that cities averaged 29% lower costs if there was open competition. The legislation will result in a win/win situation for municipalities – millions in savings to local governments and responsible use of taxpayer dollars while ensuring that project engineers will be able to determine which materials are best-suited for their project.
Why do we need to change current procurement procedures for infrastructure projects - aren’t the current policies working just fine?
Preserving the status quo will make finding the resources for fixing our nation’s crumbling infrastructure more difficult. Many municipalities have bidding restrictions on the books that create virtual monopolies for certain industries by dictating the use of specific materials used in infrastructure projects. These restrictions hurt communities – particularly low and fixed income residents – as raising water rates are often the other tool available to service providers. The SMART Infrastructure Act addresses this problem head-on, by allowing municipalities to consider all suitable materials when planning a project.
Who gets to make the final decision on the selection of materials under the SMART Infrastructure Act?
The final decision should and will remain in local control. The legislation introduced does not give preferential treatment to any single material and makes clear that the final decision on material selection rests with the local project engineers.
Where Can I Read the SMART Infrastructure Act?
You can read the text of the full SMART Infrastructure Act and follow its progress as it is considered by Congress here.
What is the Coalition for Affordable and Resilient Infrastructure?
The Coalition for Affordable and Resilient Infrastructure (CARI) is a group of trade associations working in the manufacturing, technology, and energy sectors to support affordable, sustainable infrastructure solutions.
How can I get involved?
You can show your support for the SMART Infrastructure Act by joining our coalition and by sharing our content on social media.