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Infrastructure funding remains uncertain

April 1st, 2019 / By: / Editorial

Nearly a year has gone by since we published the June/July 2018 issue with a theme of “Geosynthetics Used in Highways and Bridges.” The editorial in that issue noted, “As of this writing, the White House and U.S. Congress are working on an infrastructure bill or bills after President Donald Trump released an infrastructure proposal in February [2018]. What that infrastructure bill or those bills will encompass, and when or if legislation will pass Congress, however, remains uncertain.”

Things are still uncertain. Despite widespread reporting that infrastructure was something that divided government could likely agree on, other issues have dominated the political landscape thus far. That said, the Innovative Materials for America’s Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act, which supports research and deployment of innovative construction materials (including geosynthetics) in transportation and water infrastructure projects, is gaining steam in Congress. President Donald Trump signed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act on Oct. 5, 2018, an act which included two amendments encouraging the use of geosynthetics. And according to the Eno Center for Transportation, 2018 voters nationwide approved $40.9 billion on transportation ballot measures at the state level, including approvals to raise the money to pay for these projects primarily through bonds and property taxes.

Infrastructure remains a crucial issue for geosynthetics manufacturers and engineers. Infrastructure applications run the gamut from roads and pavement to airports and bridges. We touch on many of these in this issue, including a massive reconstruction involving geofoam of a collapsed mountainside below a runway in “Yeager Airport: Deconstruction and Reconstruction of the Side of a Mountain.” Roads take the spotlight in “Geosynthetics Allow Widening of Road Adjacent to an Urban Lake” and in this issue’s Final Inspection, “Waterproofing for Washington Weather.” Pavement and geogrids/geocells are the focus of one of the Updates, “Impact of Geogrids on Concrete Pavement Performance,” and in the feature, “Large-Scale Studies to Evaluate the Resilient Modulus of Geocell-Reinforced RAP Bases.” And bridges are in the forefront in “Performance Evaluation of Multi-Span GRS–IBS.”

Eventually, an infrastructure bill or bills will pass, although patience may be required. Things will continue to happen on the state and local level. In the meantime, geosynthetics professionals can advocate for geosynthetic infrastructure investment through the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) and support GMA’s projects with government and private companies. Geosynthetics magazine will continue to play its role highlighting innovative projects and research, and spotlighting the efforts of GMA and other organizations.

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