A new year gives every organization a fresh chance to take stock of where they are and where they’re going. With change comes new opportunities, and it is ACMA’s job to capture those opportunities to benefit the composites industry and our members. Let’s explore a few of ACMA’s highest priorities for 2017.
Composites are the material choice for a litany of infrastructure applications. ACMA has had an aggressive and focused effort to grow the use of composites in infrastructure, and this will remain our top advocacy priority for the coming year.
One key objective is to ensure an effective rollout of the Transportation Research Board’s forthcoming study on the performance of composites used in the former Innovative Bridge Research and Construction program (IBRC). Under the IBRC, some 150 bridges around the country were built using various composite components. ACMA heavily advocated for the inclusion of the study provision in the FAST Act, signed by President Obama in late 2015.
ACMA also successfully advocated for inclusion of a requirement in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), approved by Congress in December, to study the performance of composites and other innovative materials in US Army Corps of Engineers civil works projects. Composites have been used by the Corps over the years but with limited regularity. Under WRDA, the Transportation Research Board will review the performance of composites and other materials and make recommendations regarding their inclusion in the Unified Facilities Guide Specification (UFGS). Inclusion in the UFGS is a necessary precondition to opening the door for the wider and more regular use of composites in Corps projects like dams, locks, levies and more. ACMA is committed to working closely with the TRB to ensure the study captures the positive performance attributes of composites.
The new year, new administration and new Congress present grand opportunities for leaders to address America’s crumbling infrastructure woes in a fundamental way. The Trump team has made rebuilding our infrastructure a priority. In anticipation of a significant infrastructure package in 2017, ACMA is committed to educating Congress and the administration on the superior value composites bring to infrastructure and to advocating for their further use. All infrastructure markets, from roads to water to the electric grid, are ripe opportunities to advance our industry.
Another priority for ACMA is to promote the use of composites in military applications. While widely used in aerospace and ballistic protection applications, composites are underused throughout the military. ACMA seeks to collaborate with the Department of Defense and various branches of the military to identify ways composites can be put to use. The National Defense Authorization Act will be a key instrument in advancing composites in defense, and we will work closely with congressional leaders from beginning to end of this year’s process.