Murkowski: Flexibility needed for Trump’s ‘Buy America’ plan

  • By The Associated Press
  • Wednesday, August 16, 2017 3:12pm
  • News

KETCHIKAN — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has said that President Donald Trump’s “Buy America” plan needs flexibility when it comes to government-funded projects like the move to replace an aging Alaska ferry serving Kodiak, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands.

Murkowski, a Republican, spoke to reporters Monday and was responding to a recent report by the Juneau Empire that plans for a new oceangoing ferry may be being put at risk by federal policies.

President Donald Trump signed the executive order that included a provision requiring all steel and iron products be produced in the U.S. at every stage of the process — even if there is nowhere in the U.S. to produce those products.

Murkowski said she supports the provision but thinks there needs to be flexibility.

“We want to make sure that we’re doing all that we can to support American manufacturing, American jobs — that’s good, that’s strong, that’s ideal,” Murkowski said. “But let’s not get ourselves down a rabbit path where we cannot have good manufacturing jobs in a place like Ketchikan, Alaska because we have gone through the log book and found out this piece of a widget was made in another country.”

She went on to use Trump Tower in New York as a metaphor for how rigid enforcement of Buy America is unrealistic for plans to replace the ferry and other projects.

The new ferry is intended to replace the Tustumena ferry. It was built in 1964 and for the second time in a decade has been put out of service for an entire summer after drydock workers discovered extensive amounts of steel requiring replacement.

“This is not just the Tustumena project where this is become an issue,” Murkowski said. “This has ramifications and implications across the country.”

She added: “The president knows you can build a nice Trump Tower and make sure you’ve got ‘Made in America’ on it. But that maybe some of the pieces of the towel came from somewhere else.”

It appears that the only way to sidestep the Buy America provision is a waiver from the head of the Federal Highway Administration, but Trump has not yet hired one, the Ketchikan Daily News reports ( ).

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities spokesperson Aurah Landau told the Daily News on Monday that the waivers also “require extensive justification and vetting and could take a while.”

Murkowski told the Daily News she would discuss the replacement of the Tustumena with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao on Aug. 23.

More in News

(Juneau E
Aurora forecast for the week of Nov. 27

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

“The Phantom of the Opera” is screened with a live musical soundtrack at the Gold Town Theater in April. Three of the musicians are scheduled to perform Sunday during two screenings of the 1928 silent film “The Wind.” (Courtesy of Gold Town Theater)
This weekend’s lineup at the Gold Town Theater really blows

Xmas Bazaar Xtravaganza nearly sold out already, but seeing “The Wind” to live music a breeze.

Scant patches of snow remain at the base of Eaglecrest Ski area on Wednesday despite snowmaking efforts that occurred during the weekend, due to warmer temperatures and rain this week. The opening date for the ski area, originally set for Dec. 2 and then delayed until Dec. 9, is now undetermined. (Photo courtesy of Eaglecrest Ski Area)
Eaglecrest opening delayed again, target date now TBD

Warm temperatures and rain thwart efforts to open ski area on Saturday.

Work crews continue removing hundreds of truckloads of debris from Zimovia Highway since the Nov. 20 landslide in Wrangell. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
Clearing work continues at Wrangell slide; fundraising grows to help families

Juneau, with several thousand pounds of food collected in drive, among many communities assisting.

The front page of the Juneau Empire on Dec. 4, 2005. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of Dec. 10

Three decades of capital city coverage.

Staff of the Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District carry a 15-foot-long lodgepole pine near the Silvis Lake area to a vessel for transport to Juneau on Nov. 30. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)
Together Tree departs Ketchikan for Governor’s Residence in Juneau

Annual Holiday Open House featuring 21,350 cookies scheduled 3-6 p.m. Dec. 12.

Female caribou runs near Teshekpuk Lake on June 12, 2022. (Photo by Ashley Sabatino, Bureau of Land Management)
Alaska tribes urge protection for federal lands

80% of food comes from surrounding lands and waters for Alaska Native communities off road system.

Ron Ekis (wearing red) and Dakota Brown order from Devils Hideaway at the new Vintage Food Truck Park as Marty McKeown, owner of the property, shows seating facilities still under construction to other local media members on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
New Vintage Food Truck Park makes year-round debut

Two of planned five food trucks now open, with covered seating and other offerings in the works.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read