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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation Overhauls Century-Old Rule

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Update will give states more flexibility in federally funded highway projects

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today published an updated federal rule to give states more flexibility and choice in which products or services can be used on federally funded highway projects. The change is intended to improve safety and increase efficiency while saving taxpayer dollars.

“This much-needed update of a century-old, obsolete rule will benefit state transportation infrastructure projects and save millions of taxpayer dollars,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The rule updates an outdated federal requirement that restricts the ability of states to use patented or proprietary technology in their Federal-aid highway projects.

“This final rule promotes innovation by empowering states to choose which state-of-the-art materials, tools, and products best meet their needs for the construction and upkeep of America’s transportation infrastructure,” said Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason.

Prior to this change, federal regulations prohibited state contracting agencies from using federal funds to acquire patented or proprietary materials, products, or services, except under certain limited circumstances.

The new rule will take effect on October 28, 2019. It can be viewed online at the Federal Register.