From ACMA’s perch in Washington, D.C., we are the eyes, ears and voice of the composites industry. As your association, we work aggressively to ensure that composites are a part of the national policy dialogue.
We all know that 2020 is going to be a wild year in the public policy realm. Presidential politics are already dominating news cycles. Control of the U.S. House and Senate are both up for grabs, as well as many governorships and state legislatures that are poised for shifts. ACMA’s job is to make sense of it all. It all may seem fraught with chaos, but we see opportunities to achieve key legislative and regulatory outcomes that will benefit our industry in the long term.
Infrastructure is one such area and remains a top priority. America’s bridges, water systems, dams and electric grids are woefully inadequate, and our industry is uniquely positioned to solve the problem. One barrier we’ve identified is design data and standards, and we are on track to clear it through legislation authorizing the National Institute for Standards and Technology to launch a multimillion-dollar effort to aggregate and validate existing standards and develop models to better measure durability of composite infrastructure products. By making composites easier for the design community to understand, and certify to standards, we increase our selling power exponentially.
We also seek to create immediate opportunities for deployment. ACMA is a leading voice championing legislation, known as the IMAGINE Act, that would direct hundreds of millions of dollars for construction of bridge and water/wastewater infrastructure with innovative material and technologies like composites. Because the current legislation expires in 2020, Congress must pass highway and water infrastructure bills in 2020. These large legislative packages provide an opportunity for ACMA to lobby for inclusion of our industry priorities.
Transportation is another core area of our legislative program. ACMA is a leading voice championing the Aeronautics Innovation Act, which enables industry collaboration with NASA to further develop composite manufacturing and material technologies for next-generation aerospace applications. Congress will complete a NASA reauthorization process next year, creating an avenue to see the Aeronautics Innovation Act signed into law.
Similarly, ACMA is pressing for passage of legislation known as the Vehicle Innovation Act, which would reform Department of Energy vehicle research programs to focus on commercializable solutions and to fully include the automotive supply chain in their efforts. Like the aeronautics bill, this effort would also address scalability concerns for composites to meet the demands of high volume automotive production. These two bills are essential because not only do they create immediate opportunities in high-growth markets, but also help our industry overcome technical barriers to allow us to better compete in virtually every market.
While we look at these new opportunities on the horizon, we must be equally mindful of preserving existing industry vitality. ACMA has long had a robust regulatory and compliance program where we work to help our industry navigate complex federal, state and local rules, as well as weigh in with agencies to ensure composites are appropriately understood and regulations are not overly burdensome.