The National Academies

TCRP J-05/Topic 22-04 [Pending]

Update of Buy America

  Project Data
Funds: $50,000
Contract Time: 12 months
Staff Responsibility: Gwen Chisholm-Smith


The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) plans to award a contract for a study and report. Legal reports sponsored by this project are published in TCRP's Legal Research Digest (LRD) series. Publications are available to some libraries and approximately 4,000 transportation lawyers and officials through the TRB distribution network.


The Transportation Research Board (TRB) has published a series of legal guides to the federal Buy America requirements that attach to federal financial assistance provided through the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). 

  • TCRP LRD 17: Guide to Federal Buy America Requirements (2001) provides all the Buy America requirements, emphasizing the requirements that apply to manufactured products and rolling stock.
  • TCRP LRD 31Guide to Federal Buy America Requirements—2009 Supplement updates the information presented in TCRP LRD 17.  
  • TCRP LRD 49: Updated Guide to Buy America Requirements—2015 Supplement explores the varying requirements attaching to funding from multiple DOT modal administrations, including the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This digest focuses on public-private partnership projects, joint development projects, and multimodal projects that have a public transportation nexus and receive funding from one or more federal agencies. TCRP LRD 49 also discusses the evolving Buy America rules that apply to utility relocation.

Buy America practices in the U.S. DOT have evolved since the publication of TCRP LRD 49, notably with the passage and implementation of the 2021 Build America, Buy America Act, which requires iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in federally funded infrastructure projects to be produced in the United States. With cross-cutting applicability, the Build America, Buy America construction materials provisions could significantly impact all federal programs.


The objective of this research is to review and assess relevant laws, regulations, and guidance to (1) publish an update to TCRP LRD 17, TCRP LRD 31, and TCRP LRD 49, emphasizing final Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and DOT guidance on and implementation of the Build America, Buy America Act, and (2) to produce an easy-to-use guide that presents the Buy America requirements. This update should focus on the Build America, Buy America Act. This report should be helpful to attorneys, administrators, contracting officers, engineers, and purchasing officials of transportation agencies.

This research will be conducted in two phases. At the conclusion of Phase I, TCRP will determine whether to proceed with Phase II.


This research will be conducted in four tasks under a firm fixed-price agreement.

Task 1. Develop a research plan and detailed report outline. The consultant will conduct background research and develop a complete research plan with respect to all relevant laws, regulations, and guidance necessary to complete this study as an update to  TCRP LRD 17, TCRP LRD 31, and TCRP LRD 49, emphasizing OMB and DOT guidance on and implementation of the Build America, Buy America Act. The final step of this task is to develop a detailed outline for the report. The outline should be 1015 pages and contain sufficient detail to show the committee what a 75-to-100-page report will contain. This outline should also contain the number of pages for each proposed section or subsection. The consultant will submit this material to the committee for consideration.

Task 2. Conduct research. After approval of the work plan, the consultant should conduct additional research and case and statutory/regulatory analysis.

Task 3. Submit draft report in accordance with the approved work plan (including modifications required by TCRP).

Task 4. Submit final report. The consultant should anticipate making two revisions to the report before it is finalized. One revision may be required after review by TCRP staff and members of a subcommittee. Final revisions may be necessary after the full committee has reviewed the report.


25% paid upon submission and approval of the Task 1 report.

50% paid upon submission and approval of the Task 3 report.

25% paid upon submission and approval of the final report (following revisions as required by TCRP).


STATUS: A response has been received for this RFP.  The project panel will meet to determine next steps.


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