Since mid-summer, the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) has been swamped with conversations related to the Buy American, Build America (BABA) provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) 180-day hold for clarity and definition on the Buy America clauses. GMA members have been meeting with various agency leaders in Washington, D.C., to ensure that our questions are directly expressed to these stakeholders. Conversations focused on several key areas, including the Centers of Excellence for the study of sustainability and resilience, new funding mechanisms for local projects, resiliency, and protective features funding under the National Highway Performance Program (authorized under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015), and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) Buy America provisions.
Additionally, GMA has been present at the 2022 National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP) Annual Meeting (including the Geosynthetics Technical Committee) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Committee on Materials and Pavements (COMP) TS-4g (Geosynthetics and Erosion Control Tech Section). This new Tech Section (TS) clarifies the need expressed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) that geosynthetics are an integral part of its solution tool kit for construction, repair and maintenance of the country’s roadway systems.
November will be a busy month for the GMA legislative calendar. Early November will see the end of the current Department of Transportation’s (DOT) temporary 180-day waiver for the IIJA’s new category of construction materials and the request for information (RFI) time frame for comments. Depending on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), DOT and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clarifications, potential delays and anticipated disruptions could start to occur on project delivery. At the same time, the national elections will have concluded, bringing possible changes and adjustments to congressional activities. The middle of the month will see GMA hold its Fall Lobby Days (November 15 and 16), providing face-to-face conversations with the congressional offices and an opportunity to directly express our opinions and concerns.
GMA’s government affairs work continues. The association expects a busy fall/winter of 2022–2023. There will be more to do on implementation of funding from the IIJA, as well as advocacy work on upcoming major legislation concerning water resources and disaster response. GMA is also expanding efforts to build even stronger working relationships with the executive branch at federal agencies including the U.S. DOT, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. EPA.
GMA has lots of exciting work to do, and the association needs the help of the geosynthetics industry to continue to achieve GMA’s advocacy goals. Contact GMA executive director Fred C. Chuck at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.