WASHINGTON — The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) is hoping to influence eventual infrastructure spending and boost the industry in the process.
The trade group is urging leadership on both sides of the aisle in Congress as well as the Biden administration to take several steps to promote the recycling of scrap tires, according to a May 24 letter from the organization.
"As Congress negotiates the breadth and depth of the infrastructure package, we respectfully urge you to include policies that ensure our nation's infrastructure is designed to meet important sustainability and resiliency goals in addition to supporting future mobility systems," USTMA CEO Anne Forristall Luke writes.
The USTMA outlines five ways the federal government can strengthen the tire manufacturing industry while also delivering "on its important environmental objectives," the association said.
The USTMA seeks investment in research and use of rubber modified asphalt in new and existing infrastructure work. The group also wants more research into the use of tire derived aggregate in stormwater infiltration galleries.
The USTMA also wants all tires used on federal vehicles to enter what it calls the "tire circularity market."
While 76% of scrap tires in 2019 found beneficial end-use markets, recent research shows the number of tires being recycled has plateaued in the U.S.
"There are myriad uses of scrap tires that can prevent them from ending up in landfills or illegal dump sites. USTMA and its members share the goal that all scrap tires enter sustainable and circular end-use markets, and we believe the federal government can contribute to that mission," Ms. Luke said in the letter.
The USTMA also seeks ways to incentivize "the growth of U.S. manufacturing of retreaded tires for commercial vehicles" as the "use of low rolling resistance tires" to increase fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Mandating federally used tires be diverted from landfills along with the greater use of retreads would help the country with sustainability and environmental goals, the USTMA said.
"Tire manufacturing is an essential industry that directly supports more than a quarter million U.S. jobs across every congressional district in the country. Our 13 member companies produce 85% of the tires sold in the United States and are committed to upholding tire safety standards and market circularity. As such, there are several ways in which Congress and the tire industry can collaborate to meet our shared objectives," Ms. Luke said in the letter.
The CEO, in a separate statement, calls the recommendations "concrete actions Congress can take to support transportation innovations not only to improve performance and sustainability on our roads, but to ensure a comprehensive infrastructure plan."
The letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. President Joe Biden as well as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg were among the administration members copied on the letter.