Ever since the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, the infrastructure industry has been abuzz with hopes of a trillion-dollar infrastructure package. During President Trump’s first 200 days in office, he and his staff laid the foundation for an infrastructure bill that would increase public and private investment to help repair and replace roads, railways, tunnels, pipelines and bridges across the country. The president’s plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure called for $200 billion in direct infrastructure investment over 10 years—$25 billion for rural infrastructure, $15 billion for transformative projects, and $100 billion for prioritizing of infrastructure needs and funding for streamlining the permitting process, as well as some funding for providing educational programs and fostering private investment. An infrastructure package paired with the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act may well help put the country’s infrastructure back on track.
The geosynthetic industry is primed to take advantage of the renewed interest in infrastructure investment and the prospect of billions of dollars in new funding. According to the Industrial Fabrics Association International’s market research specialist Jeffrey Rasmussen, “The U.S./Canadian geosynthetics market includes geotextiles, geomembranes, geogrids, geosynthetic clay liners, drainage materials, geocells and erosion control materials. In 2016, the size of the U.S./Canadian geosynthetics market was $2.6 billion, up 3.5% over 2015. It is expected to swell to $2.7 billion in 2017, up 4% compared to 2016. In a survey of Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) members and nonmembers in October 2016, respondents reported they expect sales to be somewhat better in 2017 than in 2016.” This modest growth is projected to occur with little new money being pumped into the infrastructure marketplace; surely, an influx of new public and private money would affect the geosynthetics industry and grow the proverbial pie for everyone in our industry.
GMA, through the leadership of its executive council, has successfully lobbied to have geosynthetics language included in all major infrastructure legislation passed by Congress since 2014 and is well positioned for inclusion in the Trump infrastructure plan. Over the past year, GMA has met with more than 60 legislative offices on Capitol Hill and multiple regulatory agencies, laying a solid foundation for the promotion of geosynthetics at the federal level, which will likely increase the adoption rate for geosynthetics across a wide range of civil infrastructure projects.
If you are interested in joining the conversation, I welcome you to attend GMA’s Fall Lobby Day on October 24 and 25, 2017, in Washington, D.C. It is a terrific opportunity to network with industry professionals, meet with lawmakers and be an advocate for the geosynthetics industry. To register, visit http://bit.ly/2vniL5X. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact GMA specialist Janelle Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org.