Sivyer Steel Castings. Olympic Steel. Donahoo Steel Treating. …just to name a few of the steel manufacturers and foundries located in Bettendorf and across the Quad Cities region. Once the world leader, the American steel industry has fought its way back more than once to fend-off low-quality, low-price overseas competitors. It’s in our national interest to support American-made steel because the world market can be unstable. And, we need to ensure America is not dependent on foreign producers.
So, why then are Iowa legislators weakening federal “BUY AMERICAN” protections for domestic steel and other construction materials with its “Federal Aid Swap” program? When the United States Congress passed the Fix America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act; it included protections for American-made goods, such as steel. Under Iowa’s Federal Aid Swap program, the Iowa Department of Transportation now keeps our federal highway construction dollars in Des Moines and “swaps” them for state dollars. By removing the federal BUY AMERICAN restrictions Iowa legislators have undermined the economic and quality benefits provided by the American steel and related industries. Why?
Whatever savings can be realized by importing lower-cost Chinese or European steel cannot be worth the harm to the American steel industry. It’s wrong to swap American tax dollars for foreign-made construction materials. I urge city and county officials across Rock Island and Scott Counties to “opt-out” of the Iowa DOT Federal Aid Swap Program. No Swaps.