Twice a year during GMA’s biannual lobby day fly-in, our executive council meets to discuss GMA business and council priorities. This year’s spring meeting commenced immediately after the presentation of the 2017 Friend of the Industry Award to Rep. Graves. Twelve of GMA’s fourteen member companies attended the meeting, and Gardner kicked off the meeting by acknowledging Strata Systems Inc. for joining the council. A full list of council members can be viewed at www.gmanow.com.
A typical council meeting begins with a review of our membership levels and GMA’s financials, which I can report were both strong this fiscal year. After that, the council quickly got down to business, reviewing our government relations programs and focus group activities. GMA has a robust federal, state, and local lobbying effort; to date GMA has visited 15 states and held more than 60 meetings in the past year on Capitol Hill. The executive council closely monitors these meetings and identifies areas for follow-up. The council recognizes that GMA’s efforts in D.C. have helped pave the way for GMA’s work at the state level to be successful. When congressional contacts are supportive of our efforts in Washington, they help smooth the way for our industry’s outreach to state transportation and environmental departments. Evidence of this success is that our executive council and focus groups are actively reviewing specifications in nine states and are in discussions to provide training programs with multiple agencies. At the federal level, GMA lobbies for consideration in legislation each year, and the council monitors our progress along with guidance from our lobbying firm, Whitmer & Worrall. Key legislation to watch for this year will be President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill. The council will also closely monitor implementation of the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act) and WIIN Act (Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act). Each of these bills includes language that encourages the use of geosynthetic products. The language is a direct result of GMA’s lobbying efforts in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.