What the Build America Bureau Means for Geosynthetics



The Geosynthetic Materials Association anticipates higher demand for geosynthetics on the heels of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST act, and the recent addition of the Build America Bureau. The new group was created to support the $305 billion FAST Act, which provides long-term funding for U.S. infrastructure planning and development. The FAST Act also set new benchmarks for America’s infrastructure.

The use of geosynthetics spiked following the FAST Act, which included a section encouraging the use of innovative new technologies. Geosynthetics was specifically mentioned as a desired technology to be implemented to help solve civic engineering problems. These synthetic products are often used to stabilize terrain and come in eight categories: geotextiles, geogrids, geonets, geomembranes, geosynthetic clay liners, geofoam, geocells and geocomposites.

Benefits of The Build America Bureau

Since the FAST Act was launched toward the end of 2015, many substantive and procedural changes have been enacted. Recognizing that the new benchmarks would require additional skills and expertise, the Build America Bureau was formed to provide guidance. In the coming months, the Build America Bureau will finalize some of the changes started by the FAST Act, including revising program websites, creating guidance documents and finalizing regulations.

How is this good news for geosynthetics? With such a significant amount of funding dedicated toward U.S. infrastructure from the FAST Act, proposals bidding on future projects will be pitted against stronger competition. One way to distinguish a bid would be to meet or exceed project requirements. By incorporating geosynthetics into the material stack, builders demonstrate domain knowledge and capability. A benefit of the new Build America Bureau is streamlining access to capital. So even companies with a limited history of using geosynthetics can apply for additional funding to help cover the upfront capital cost of incorporating this technology in their work.

Of course, capital isn’t the only limiting factor when using unfamiliar techniques or materials. The FAST Act encouraged the use of new techniques, but offered no guidance or support on the best approach. The Build America Bureau is set to change that by also providing technical assistance for projects. The Bureau’s assistance with project planning, financing, delivery and monitoring support will be a boon for small contractors. Additionally, the Bureau draws from the U.S. Department of Transportation for additional resources like human capital. This allows the Build America Bureau to support its culture of innovation and customer service, promising to make it a valuable support tool in years to come.

Industrial Impacts

As a result of these changes, more companies will have an opportunity to compete at the highest levels. The combination of credit, grants and other funding along with technical support means businesses have access to the resources they need to use innovative technologies. Projects will benefit from the use of more durable, resilient and sustainable materials and practices.

While businesses can certainly lean on the Build America Bureau for support, forming a partnership with a leading geosynthetics manufacturer can help solve problems before they arise. The technical representatives at Agru America, a leading manufacturer of geosynthetics since 1988, are known problem solvers. Agru not only sells many of the geosynthetics materials encouraged in the FAST Act, but also provides installation support.

From environmental and civil projects to mining and energy, Agru America’s wide-ranging domain knowledge can be a competitive advantage. Many of Agru’s solutions are geared toward water resistance, erosion protection and quality control. Take a look at Agru’s quality control guidelines and service profile to see how Agru can help in your next project.