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Plastic Pipe Coalition Urges Congress to Support Open Competition

Jul 2017

VI and members of the plastic pipe coalition sent a letter to Congress this week urging policy makers to improve funding mechanisms for federally funded water infrastructure projects.  The letter specifically mentioned the lack of competition in the bidding process which increases project costs and fees imposed on ratepayers. 

“Currently a large number of municipalities have regulatory restrictions that greatly limit the types of materials that can be considered for infrastructure projects,” the letter read.  “By taking many potential solutions off the table, these regulations have increased costs for projects and blocked new and innovative materials from being easily adopted.  The result is less modernization and billions of dollars in wasted resources.”

According to a recent study by BCC Research, about 78 percent of municipalities follow a closed or constrained competition process, where adherence to specific pipe material is required under the municipal standard policy.  Additionally, The National Taxpayers Union estimates that open competition could save over $371 billion on water infrastructure improvements over the next decade. 

The letter was sent in response to efforts by special interest to prevent competition in the selection of pipe material.  The opposition has argued that allowing all pipe materials to be considered in the bidding process could take decision making power away from local engineers.  However, open competition policies actually provide engineers with more options by allowing them to consider more than one pipe material.  Additional studies have shown that states can save an estimated 30-50 percent on pipe projects in an open competitive environment – because when materials are allowed to go head-to-head, costs inevitably come down.

The plastic pipe coalition consists of chemical manufacturers, plastic pipe producers, home builders and contractors.  If you’d like more information on this coalition or our plastic pipe advocacy efforts, please contact VI at