01/07/2015 09:35 EST | Updated 03/09/2015 05:59 EDT

Alaska grapples with Canadian opposition to requirement for U.S. steel in new ferry dock

Gov. Bill Walker met Tuesday with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in Washington, D.C., trying to head off a trade battle so a new Alaska ferry dock can be built in Canada.

But others have different goals and are intent on challenging or defending the U.S. Buy America Act that requires U.S. steel be used in the construction of Federal Highway Administration-funded projects, like the dock Alaska wants to rebuild in Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Tuesday's meeting "went well," said Patricia Eckert, associate director of Alaska's Office of International Trade, but she and other state officials were not willing to say a solution to the standoff was near, or even possible.

Some Prince Rupert officials who support the dock have warned the dispute could lead to the project's cancellation, but the project got a new chance to stay alive when Alaska Department of Transportation officials extended Tuesday's deadline for contractors to submit construction bids by two weeks.

"The postponement is really an opportunity to see if there's a solution out there," Eckert said.


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