In Washington – ACMA Insider – March 23, 2023

ACMA Comments on Build America Buy America  In response to a February request for comments from the Office of Management …

ACMA Comments on Build America Buy America 

In response to a February request for comments from the Office of Management and Budget, ACMA answered questions posed by the Biden Administration on how to define the phrase “composite building materials.” Composites will be subject to domestic content rules under the new “Build America, Buy America” provisions of the IIJA, which includes composite building materials in a list of examples of plastic and polymer products.  

ACMA argued that the text of the bill means composite building materials should remain a sub-category of plastic and polymer-based products. While the difference between these products is self-evident when examining the technical specifications, ACMA believes composite building materials should remain a sub-category to avoid confusion with other products seen in the marketplace that are described as “composite” but do not fit the intended definition created by the IIJA.  

To read ACMA’s full comments, please click here 

Most Ohio Representatives Introduce Rail Safety Bill Tightening Rules for Railroads 

Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Representative Emilia Sykes (D-OH) are leading this legislation, joined by the majority of Republican and all Democratic members of the Ohio delegation.  The bill has already drawn praise from House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA), who said he looks “forward to advancing this proposal and others designed to protect communities, strengthen rail safety, and hold operators accountable.”   

The bill does not go quite as far as a Senate companion introduced by the Republican and Democratic Senators from Ohio. That legislation included rules surrounding minimum crew needs. The House bill instead uses the as yet unreleased NTSB investigation as the basis for any new regulations. 

According to a statement released by the authors, the bill would require new safety rules based off the findings of an ongoing NTSB investigation into the February derailment, increase the number of train inspections, require railroads to notify states and tribal governments of hazardous materials shipments, strengthens requirements for safety placards on train cars and new regulations for wheel bearings. It would also increase penalties for rail safety violations, increase funding for hazardous materials training for first responders and require an audit of all federal rail inspections. 

In a sign that significant political attention is focused on rail safety, the Norfolk Southern CEO testified on Wednesday, March 22 before the Senate Commerce Committee, the second hearing on the February 3 derailment this month.