Don’t forget to join the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) for its upcoming D.C. fly-in on April 26–27. Our biannual Lobby Day will consist of a GMA briefing dinner the evening of April 26 and about 30 meetings on Capitol Hill all day April 27. The GMA Executive Council will also hold a private meeting the afternoon of April 26. For more information, visit www.gmanow.com.
During GMA’s most recent D.C. fly-in Nov. 31–Dec. 1, members attended 15 meetings with U.S. Senate offices and 11 with U.S. House offices. GMA members met with congressional committees, including Transportation and Infrastructure; Budget; Ways and Means; Energy and Commerce; Appropriations; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Foreign Affairs; and Environment and Public Works.
In December, Congress was optimistic that the new administration would promote infrastructure investment. On election night, President-elect Donald Trump said: “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, and hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.”
When I heard the president-elect speak so passionately about infrastructure on the night of his election, I was encouraged that our nation’s need to fix its crumbling infrastructure would be addressed by this administration and the 115th Congress. Repairing and modernizing our country’s infrastructure is a bipartisan issue that I hope we can all use as a rallying point.
Infrastructure investment has continued to be a hot topic since the election and President Trump has not backed down from his pledge to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure during the next 10 years.
April 29, 2017, will mark the president’s 100th day in office. GMA’s Spring Lobby Day is going to take place just a few days before, providing GMA members with a rare look at how a new president works with Congress to implement agendas. It will also give GMA members the opportunity to reinforce the message that geosynthetic materials provide cost-saving engineering solutions that help extend the life of our nation’s infrastructure.
The Obama years marked the passage of WRRDA 2014, the 2015 FAST Act, and the 2016 WIIN Act, all of which included language promoting the use of geosynthetic products as leading “innovative materials.” It is my hope that during the Trump years, GMA will be able to continue to work with our representatives in Congress and the Executive Branch to promote policies and legislation that will have a positive impact on the geosynthetics industry.
GMA’s 2017 lobbying priorities include, but are not limited to, promoting a well-funded FAA bill that will allow for stronger consideration of geosynthetics, promoting continued funding of the 2015 FAST Act, promoting tax reform and other revenue generating methods that secure funding for the repair of existing infrastructure and the building of new infrastructure. Increased investment in infrastructure results in the increased production and distribution of geosynthetic materials, benefiting all members of GMA.
Quarter 1, 2017 activities
January 8–12: Transportation Research Board annual meeting (TRB)—GMA members exhibited, participated in technical sessions, and met with federal agencies.
February 1–3: ASTM Committee D35 on Geosynthetics biannual meetings—These meetings provided an excellent opportunity for the engineering community to debate test methods and standards that impact the geosynthetics industry.
February 19–21: SME mining show—This was an opportunity fwor GMA members to showcase how geosynthetic materials benefit the mining industry. Exhibitors were optimistic that 2017 would be a strong year for the mining industry in the U.S.
February 22–24: IECA’s annual Environmental Connection conference and trade show—GMA exhibited at the conference.
March 12–15: Geotechnical Frontiers—GMA hosted five focus group meetings and a general membership meeting. GMA’s D.C. government relations firm, Whitmer & Worrall, also attended the conference and briefed members on federal policies and legislation affecting the geosynthetics industry.