Larsen, Cicilline, Davis, Young Pushing Bipartisan IMAGINE Act to Boost American Infrastructure

Feb 15, 2019 Issues: Transportation & Infrastructure

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Don Young (AK-At Large) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) have introduced the Innovative Materials for America’s Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act to help develop cutting-edge materials that could vastly improve infrastructure nationwide. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) has introduced the Senate version of the bill.

“New materials and building techniques can help make our infrastructure second to none. Rhode Island companies are already helping to lead the way in this field, and I’m excited to give them even more tools to get ahead,” said Cicilline.  “It’s critical that we move forward on this bill so we can better take on the challenge of rebuilding our bridges, roads, and public transit systems.”

“Addressing our crumbling infrastructure is long overdue,” said Davis. “Congress should encourage more innovation as we invest in rebuilding our infrastructure and that’s exactly what the IMAGINE Act does. Finding new, more resilient materials will help tax dollars go further and our infrastructure catch up to 21st century transportation needs.”

“The IMAGINE Act will help to identify innovative technology and advanced materials to address the nation’s growing infrastructure needs,” said Larsen. “Washington state alone needs over $190 billion in infrastructure investments and I am proud to join my colleagues on bipartisan legislation to explore ways to improve safety, promote resiliency and support jobs and local economies.”

“Stronger and more resilient building materials are needed to help our roads and bridges withstand the heavy use and harsh environments that they are subjected to, especially in my home state,” said Young. “This bill will help ensure that we are using the strongest and most effective techniques and materials as we rebuild our infrastructure.”      

The IMAGINE Act takes several steps to incentivize the use of innovative infrastructure materials – the bill creates a task force to examine the approval process for infrastructure materials, it promotes research and development of new materials; and it enhances federal investment in infrastructure projects that utilize innovative materials. 

In addition, the bill encourages the development of high-performance asphalt mixtures and concrete formulations, geo-synthetic materials, advanced insulating materials, advanced alloys and metals, reinforced polymer composites and advanced polymers, nanocellulose and wood-based composites, coatings, highly functional adhesives, and other corrosion prevention methods used in conjunction with those materials, and any other material or aggregate materials as determined by the relevant agencies.

One provision calls on the Transportation Secretary to form innovative material hubs throughout the country to continue to drive research into and development of innovative materials for use in infrastructure projects.  The provision was inspired by the success of communities of materials manufacturers – like advanced composites makers in Rhode Island and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation in Knoxville, Tennessee – that have leveraged their innovations and expertise to grow their industry.