Two amendments introduced by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., both related to geosynthetics, were included in the final Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2019 that was approved by both the House and Senate and sent to the White House. The House passed the legislation in May, and the Senate passed it 93-6 earlier this week. President Donald Trump signed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 on Oct. 5.
In a prepared statement, Fleischmann described the first of the amendments:
“The aim of my first amendment is to addresses concerns regarding the ballooning costs associated with building and maintaining our general aviation airport runways, especially in rural America,” he said. “This amendment will mitigate the hefty price tag these airports face by encouraging the use of state-based products and supporting local businesses that offer alternative pavement solutions.”
Alternative pavement solutions include geosynthetics, especially given their lower costs compared to traditional paving materials.
“The provision championed by Rep. Fleischmann reduces outdated and unnecessary regulatory red tape and streamlines a process for states to reduce pavement construction costs while still maintaining the highest level of safety at our nation’s general aviation airports,” said John Shea, interim president and CEO of the National Association of State Aviation Officials. “Facing serious budget restraints and increased construction costs, states are constantly forced to do more with less. Thanks to Rep. Fleischmann’s work on this provision, states now have the ability to save millions of dollars over the course of the five-year bill.”
Fleischman also specifically referred to geosynthetic materials in his second amendment:
“Additionally, I was proud to offer another amendment to ensure the sustainability and longevity of our airports through the use of geosynthetic materials,” said Congressman Fleischmann. “Geosynthetic materials allow for faster airfield construction and repairs compared to the use of conventional materials. This allows for airports to reopen sooner, which prevents costly congestion. Additionally, because geosynthetics allow for reduced maintenance costs, they also take into account the budgetary limitations of our nation’s airports.
“I am confident that both of my amendments will allow for those to travel our skies to do so more safely and seamlessly with common-sense answers to the problems plaguing today’s airport infrastructure.”
Fleischmann is the recipient of the 2016 Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) Leadership Award honoring his work securing an amendment encouraging the use of geosynthetics in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
Jonathan Curry, managing director of GMA, said, “GMA applauds Congressman Fleischmann’s continued support of key infrastructure legislation such as the FAA bill and his support of innovative solutions such as geosynthetics that make our country’s infrastructure stronger and last longer.”