When the GOP took control of the House in the 2022 mid-term elections, it also changed the dynamics on how lobbying organizations such as the USTMA go about their jobs. And with some of the divide even within that caucus, Luke said finding areas of compromise to make progress will be a challenge. It's also likely that the Republican-controlled House will focus more on investigation-type activities rather than legislation.
Given that environment, the USTMA has been focused on working with its Congressional Tire Caucus, a bipartisan organization of members of Congress that focuses on issues that are important to the U.S. tire manufacturing industry.
"We are continuing to develop the relationships with our manufacturing footprint legislators to make sure they know how important some of this work is to us," Luke said, "particularly in implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act."
Those initiatives have resources available for research in some of these key sustainable infrastructure technologies such as rubber modified asphalt and tire derived aggregate.
The infrastructure bill is in implementation mode now, she said, with Commerce and Transportation departments issuing grants to advance innovative technologies, many of which are focused on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
"That's where you can really see opportunities for sustainable infrastructure technologies that are good markets for scrap tires," Luke said.
"... We have our eye on what's happening in the Congress and in the administration, particularly with regards to implementation of those laws we worked so hard on in the last Congress."
And with a split federal government, she said the USTMA expects a continuation of a trend dating back to the start of the Trump Administration, where state governments have been more activist because they see the need to make things happen that won't get done at the federal level.
Luke said the association is monitoring all 50 states, but engaged in a handful, including Washington, California, Alaska, Connecticut, South Carolina, Oregon and New York. It is with this activity the USTMA can determine where best it can be constructive with its efforts with key state governments, both at the legislative and regulatory levels.