Editor’s note: Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) represents the Third District of Tennessee (the eastern part of the state). His support of the geosynthetics industry has included language submitted to the House’s Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and his meetings with the leaders of Chattanooga-based Propex Geotextile Systems. Because of Rep. Fleischmann’s involvement with U.S. infrastructure, this interview for Geosynthetics was coordinated with the congressman’s staff in Washington, D.C.
Q: Why do you think supporting strong infrastructure programs should be more of a congressional priority?
A: As a conservative, I believe the role of government should be limited, but the development and maintenance of infrastructure are vital services that we in Congress have a responsibility to support. Our nation’s economy is profoundly dependent on a healthy infrastructure system, and congressional priority must be placed accordingly if we want our nation to prosper.
Q: How can the federal government cooperate with state and local governments to support the development of our nation’s transportation infrastructure?
A: At a time when our nation’s infrastructure needs are more pressing than ever, the federal government should encourage a new generation of creative and innovative revenue generation options at the state and local levels such as public-private partnerships to help finance critical transportation infrastructure needs.
Q: What value do you see in the use of geosynthetic materials in the development of our nation’s infrastructure?
A: Changes in technology, the business environment, and the economy have driven new demands for innovative, cost-effective, and more reliable components for the development and maintenance of infrastructure. Geosynthetics, due to their cost savings, longevity, and environmental benefits, provide a real and viable solution to these growing challenges.
Q: Propex (based in Chattanooga, Tenn.) is a geosynthetics industry leader located in your district. What are some ways to ensure that companies such as Propex can grow and remain competitive with these infrastructure initiatives?
A: The most important thing we can do to ensure companies such as Propex are able to grow and remain competitive is to keep the government out of their way. Fortunately Tennessee is a great place to do business with low tax rates and reasonable regulations. I will continue to fight on the federal level to ensure we have a business friendly environment.