One of the most important benefits of ACMA membership is the association’s ability to tackle challenges that would be difficult for any company to confront on its own. One such task is our ability to work in Washington, D.C., and in state capitals across the country to grow key markets for composites and protect the industry against invasive regulation. That’s a tall order for ACMA, but a virtually impossible one for companies on their own. For 2016, we’ve outlined an ambitious strategy to grow key markets through advocacy on Capitol Hill and empower the industry to overcome regulatory challenges. Here are some of the highlights of our advocacy plans.
Cracking Open the Infrastructure Market
We know that composites are great solutions for our national infrastructure. Our products are stronger and lighter, last longer and don’t corrode. But having the solution doesn’t do any good if nobody knows about it. Throughout 2016, ACMA will focus on educating key policymakers in Washington, D.C., by explaining that expanding the use of composites in infrastructure is the best way to maximize the value of taxpayer dollars.
Over the last couple decades, composites have made great strides in penetrating transportation infrastructure. We had a victory in late 2015 with the inclusion of language in the FAST Act that directs the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to assess and release a study on the performance of composite reinforced bridges built under the Innovative Bridge Research and Construction (IBRC) program. We will focus on ensuring the study is fully funded through the appropriations process and is designed so the composites industry can collaborate closely with the FHWA. If everything falls into place, the industry could use this study could to achieve more commercial success in the infrastructure market.
Over the past year, we have also begun to penetrate the utility structures market. Composite poles and crossarms do not have structural and environmental downsides. They also perform better than poles made with alternative materials. . We will continue to work with Congress on legislation and with the Department of Energy on agency efforts to further create opportunities to expand their deployment. We will open dialogue with other key agencies, like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and work with utility stakeholders to demonstrate how composites are the best materials to build a more reliable and resilient grid.
Because our products do not corrode, they are ideal for applications in water and wastewater treatment and marine infrastructure. This year, ACMA will work with Congress on reauthorizations of the Water Resources Development Act and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act to include provisions that give greater attention to corrosion-resistant technologies in water projects.