Open Competition

Contact Us

Scott Jensen
(202) 249-6511

America’s aging infrastructure—including water systems, roads, bridges and dams—is in desperate need of repair. Many of the specifications, procurement practices and material preferences for infrastructure projects are equally outdated. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that more than $4 trillion of infrastructure investment is needed over the next eight years, and President Trump has made infrastructure improvement a priority. Americans deserve to know that our 21st century infrastructure will be built upon policies that allow engineers to select the best material for the job and make the best use of taxpayer’s dollars.

Cities Will Gain From Open Competition
Fixing the nation's decaying water infrastructure can no longer be ignored.

Policy Background

The United States has failed to properly maintain and update the nation’s infrastructure, which has resulted in crumbling bridges on the verge of collapse and water mains breaking each and every day.

There is universal agreement that action is needed and there are many different policy options that can help repair our nation’s infrastructure.

One such solution would be to adopt policies that promote open competition, which would allow engineers to select the best materials for their project and remove regulatory restrictions that limit them to pre-determined materials. Currently, there are many municipalities that have statutes on the books that limit what materials can be used for projects and do not allow many materials that meet project specifications and national standards to be considered. These regulatory constraints unnecessarily increase the total cost of infrastructure projects and block the selection of new innovative technologies.

Policy Position:

  • ACC supports the inclusion of open competition language into federal appropriation and authorization legislation so taxpayer funds can be spent wisely and engineers have the authority to make the best choice to complete infrastructure projects.
  • ACC believes that when state and federal funds are used, engineers should be allowed to consider all materials and select the best choice through open competition.
  • ACC does not support policies that grant special preference to any single material or takes decision making authority away from project engineers. This includes not requiring the lowest bid always being selected.

Learn About Becoming an ACC Member

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Additional Reports & Studies

R Street Institute: R Sheet on Water Infrastructure Procurement
The Brookings Institute: Four Ways to Make Wiser Infrastructure Investments
Bipartisan Policy Center: Increasing Innovation in America's Water Systems (PDF)
Progressive Policy Institute: Soaring Construction Costs Threaten Infrastructure Push (PDF)