Congress Introduces Comprehensive Legislation to Advance Study and Deployment of Composites in Infrastructure

August 2, 2018 (Washington, D.C.) – The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) is pleased to announce that both chambers of …

August 2, 2018 (Washington, D.C.) – The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) is pleased to announce that both chambers of Congress have introduced new legislation that takes steps to comprehensively improve the resilience of our nation’s energy grid, surface transportation and water infrastructure through the promotion of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites and advanced materials.

Known as the Innovative Materials in American Growth and Infrastructure, Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act, the new bill is designed to promote the increased use of innovative materials like fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, as well as new manufacturing methods to speed up the deployment and extend the life of infrastructure projects.

“As Congress and the Trump administration look for ways to modernize our national infrastructure network, composite materials have a number of advantages over legacy materials, which uniquely position our industry to deliver solutions to these major national priorities,” said Tom Dobbins, ACMA President. “Congress must now consider whether to rebuild American infrastructure with 20th century solutions unable to deliver the performance needed to drive today’s society and economy or deploy the best materials available in the 21st century that last longer, require far less maintenance, and are easier to install.”

ACMA applauds Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) for introducing the bill in the Senate. ACMA also commends Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) for introducing the House counterpart legislation.
Specifically, the bill calls for:

  • Reforms to existing highway programs to incentivize the use of innovative materials
  • Creation of an interagency task force for standards development for innovative composites
  • Authorization of a new Innovative Bridge Program at the Federal Highway Administration and Innovative Water Infrastructure Program at the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the creation of “Innovative Material Innovation Hubs”

The introduction of the bill comes after months of advocacy by members of the composites industry and other groups. During this time, ACMA member companies met with Members of Congress to advocate for the benefits of composites, such as their corrosion resistance, ease of installation, extreme weather resilience and superior service life. During these meetings, ACMA helped congressional leaders understand the need for legislation that includes federal investment toward the study and deployment of projects that utilize cutting edge materials like FRP composites.