Composites one key to modernizing America’s aging infrastructure

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA, Arlington, VA) held its second annual Infrastructure Day in Washington, DC, earlier in February, during which nearly 40 ACMA members joined together to connect the composites industry with dozens of influential policymakers and leaders.

One of the top priorities of the 115th Congress will be to continue searching for solutions for the nation's deteriorating infrastructure. As Members of Congress learned, the composite products that ACMA's members manufacture, supply and distribute can help build, maintain and repair a wide range of structures typically made with traditional materials. Composites are strong, lightweight, corrosion-resistant and require far less maintenance than wood, steel and aluminum.

ACMA representatives from the composites industry held more than 90 meetings on Capitol Hill.

Building on its previous legislative victories and past events, this year's Infrastructure Day grew in size and scope, with industry participation up 50 percent from last year. During the event, ACMA and its members held more than 90 meetings with senior members of Congress, their staff and additional offices.

Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) gave an address noting that because of ACMA's efforts at the federal, state and local levels, more of her colleagues in Congress are learning about composites and their value to American infrastructure. "As Chairwoman of the Research and Technology subcommittee on the House Science Committee and a member of the Transportation Committee, I look forward to working with the composites industry to advance long term transportation and infrastructure solutions and research for the development of new technologies," said Comstock.

Ian Kopp, President and Chief Operating Officer of Kenway Corporation (Augusta, ME) and Chairman of ACMA's Regulatory Steering Committee, believes the event will help set the tone for ACMA's work with the 115th Congress. "Thanks to ACMA's ambitious legislative agenda, our industry has already accomplished a great deal to ensure composites businesses can compete in many infrastructure markets," said Kopp. "By meeting with policymakers and agency leaders, ACMA and its members are laying the foundation for even greater success."

Last year's ACMA's Infrastructure fly-in event directly resulted in industry-supported language in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The language in these bills supports the study of composites in infrastructure, as well as recommendations for how composites can be used.

This year, ACMA will monitor the progress made in these studies, which will prove that composites are an ideal solution to fixing the nation's infrastructure. Additionally, ACMA will advocate for its members' products in other markets, including energy and defense.

"As the voice of the composites industry, ACMA seeks to help our members in the composites business tell their story," said Tom Dobbins, ACMA President. "As our accomplishments this year and last year have shown, our association and members have made a difference by telling that story in Washington to the officials whose policies directly impact it."

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