Discussions of a failed policy mislabeled as "open competition" or "open procurement" are making their way around Congress. This failed, special interest policy seeks to undermine the ability of engineers, utilities, public entities and other water works professionals to design water projects in the manner that best serves the needs of their local communities. This national effort is intended to benefit one industry in the marketplace, and it has received widespread opposition from groups such as engineers, utilities, contractors, architects, public entities and the business community. This special interest policy is neither practical nor necessary, and it is nothing more than a top-down, government solution to a problem that does not exist.
Engineers have professional, ethical and legal responsibility for their design decisions, and there is no evidence that engineers or local communities have been creating erroneous or otherwise improper specifications for water projects. Unfortunately, this special interest policy will undermine their ability to meet their obligations, subject them to additional red tape, and may expose them to new litigation. If passed, this policy will delay much-needed water projects and increase costs. Our nation's water systems are too important to enact this type of policy. Numerous states have rejected this proposal. Congress should not allow special interests to undermine the ability of local communities and engineers to best serve the public.