What problem is solved by passing material preference legislation? As far as I see it: none.
With all the talk about a national infrastructure package, a key component of the debate that’s missing is where the rubber will, metaphorically speaking, hit the road. And that’s in counties, cities, and towns throughout the country where local leaders will be figuring out how to best invest whatever dollars they are given.
Make no mistake, there’s no way that we can rebuild our infrastructure without federal dollars. It’s not crass or unseemly for county commissioners and other local officials to advocate aggressively for their communities. Every dollar that’s invested will go toward fixing a stretch of highway that thousands of families will travel, or a bridge that serves as a crucial connector between regions, or buried water pipes that carry clean drinking water to schools and hospitals.
That’s why it is so important that local officials and their professionals are the ones who are making the final decisions about projects. We’re the ones who intimately know our communities. We know our unique needs. We know more about our terrain and weather conditions, both of which can impact the kinds of materials that need to be used in projects. It sounds like common sense that local experts should be in charge of these decisions but there are actually special interests that think they know better than we do.