Fall Lobby Day is Oct. 28-29
The Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) had an active late spring and early summer. GMA participated in AASHTO’s NTPEP (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials/National Transportation Product Evaluation Program) conference in Houston, provided guidance to multiple state DOTs (state’s departments of transportation), met with officials from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), and attended leadership meetings in Minnesota at IFAI (Industrial Fabrics Association International) headquarters. These activities allow GMA to grow its membership and strengthen its position as a leading voice of the geosynthetics industry.
GMA success at NTPEP
AASHTO’s annual NTPEP meeting in Phoenix was highlighted by a session on geotextiles and geosynthetic reinforcement.
This meeting was attended by 13 GMA member companies: ACE Geosynthetics, Belton Industries, Crown Resources, DDD Erosion Control, GSE Environmental, Hanes Geo Components, Huesker Geocomposites, TenCate, Tensar, Thrace-LINQ, TRI/Environmental, Willacoochee Industrial Fabrics, and AVINTIV (formerly PGI). Doug Brown of Tensar and Brian Whitaker of AVINTIV presented GMA’s comments on NTPEP’s geotextile and geosynthetic reinforcement testing work plan (GTX–REGEO). The conference was attended by representatives from 47 state DOTs and gave GMA a chance to provide recommendations to these DOTs on the uses and testing of geosynthetic materials. GMA’s continued participation in programs such as NTPEP is vital to our success as an association and the growth of the geosynthetics industry.
GMA has been approached by several state DOTs to provide comments on a variety of geosynthetics-related issues. In early June, GMA was approached by the Arizona DOT Technical Advisory Committee to provide guidance on their Geosynthetics Specifications and Design Guidelines manual. As a result, ADOT has informed GMA that some of its specifications and design guidelines will be adjusted based on our comments.
GMA meets the FAA
On June 23, I joined four representatives from GMA’s Executive Council and our government relations liaison to meet with officials from the FAA for the first time in GMA’s history.
This meeting gave GMA the opportunity to learn about the FAA’s current positions regarding geosynthetic pavement interlayers and pavement reflective cracking. Positive steps were taken to gain FAA support for the use of geosynthetic interlayers in airport aprons, taxiways, and runways.
The FAA is currently funding more than 1,500 airport improvement projects. Geosythetics are an important component at many of these projects and it is critical that GMA continues to build a positive relationship with the FAA, which funds billions of dollars for projects each year at about 500 U.S. commercial airports and more than 2,500 public-use sites.
Government relations update
During the past decade, GMA has worked to develop a strong government relations program that has successfully educated members of Congress and state officials on the positive attributes of geosythentic materials. As we have reported, this program’s success was affirmed in 2014 with the inclusion of geosythentic language in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). As part of GMA’s ongoing government relation efforts, one of our goals is to see similar language included in both the transportation and FAA funding bills.
GMA also continues to build a strong state and local government relations program. This program has developed good relationships with 12 state DOTs and many governors offices.
Spending on U.S. highway planning and construction projects will exceed $35 billion this year and our government relations work allows GMA to educate the government officials spending this money about the environmentally friendly, long-lasting, and cost-saving properties of our members’ geosynthetic materials.
Our government relations program is bolstered twice a year with lobby days in Washington, D.C. Lobby days give GMA members and friends of the industry the opportunity to meet with members of Congress and their staffs to discuss the benefits of geosynthetics. GMA’s 2015 Fall Lobby Day is set for Oct. 28–29.
The state of GMA has never been stronger! In May, we welcomed four new members: Aire Industrial, DDD Erosion Control Inc., PolyTech Solutions, and Taltex Geosynthetics.
GMA currently has members in 26 states and 24 countries. Our Executive Council, combined with the guidance of our erosion control, distributor, geogrid, and geotextile focus groups is a powerful force in the industry.
GMA’s effectiveness is also enhanced because it is a division of IFAI. IFAI’s nearly 1,500 members and 13 other divisions give GMA members the added benefit of being able to network and learn from others in the industrial fabrics marketplace. In June, GMA’s Executive Council vice chair, Fred Chuck of TenCate, attended leadership meetings at IFAI headquarters in Roseville, Minn. These meetings gave GMA the opportunity to celebrate our successes with the IFAI family and to learn from other division leaders.