November 14, 2023

Whitehouse, Collins, Magaziner Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Spur Use of Innovative Materials in Rebuilding American Infrastructure

Infrastructure quality would get boost from research and investments in innovative materials

Washington, DC – With a generational investment in the nation’s infrastructure underway thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representative Seth Magaziner (D-RI) today reintroduced the Innovative Materials for America’s Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act to encourage research and deployment of innovative construction materials in transportation and water infrastructure projects nationwide.  Investing in new techniques and materials has the potential to help extend the life of critical public works. 

“We came together on a bipartisan basis to make historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure.  To maximize those efforts, we need to use the most resilient, cost-effective composite materials available to rebuild our roads, bridges and water systems,” said Whitehouse. “Our bipartisan legislation will foster innovation and save taxpayers money along the way.

“Leveraging the skills of engineers in Maine and across the country, the IMAGINE Act would support innovative research of construction materials and techniques to help revitalize our nation’s manufacturing and transportation infrastructure,” said Senator Collins. “By investing in cutting-edge materials and methods, like those being pioneered at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, we can extend the lifespan of critical public works, improve their performance, increase construction efficiency, and stimulate job creation.”

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is putting people to work rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, but we must make sure these projects are built to last,” said Representative Seth Magaziner. “I’m proud to introduce the IMAGINE Act with Senators Whitehouse and Collins to include cutting edge technology and climate resiliency into American infrastructure so that our nation’s road and bridges remain strong and dependable for generations.”

The IMAGINE Act would create a task force to examine standards and methods used to assess the federal government’s approval of materials for infrastructure projects.  It would promote research into new materials and building techniques, and spur federal investment in bridge and water infrastructure projects that utilize innovative materials, prioritizing coastal and rural projects.

“Materials innovation is critical to realize important advancements in the infrastructure that enables growth and opportunity across our nation.  The IMAGINE Act will encourage and support research, design and construction to strengthen the country’s infrastructure,” said Christian Cowan, Executive Director of 401 Tech Bridge, an advanced materials and technology commercialization center in Rhode Island.  “I applaud this proposal and the important role of the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) to bring together academia, government and private industry to accelerate the adoption of new technologies and create new jobs through material commercialization for important industries including infrastructure and the Blue Economy.”

One provision of the bill would call on the Secretary of Transportation to form innovative materials hubs throughout the country to continue to drive research into the development of innovative materials for use in infrastructure projects.  The legislation 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.

The IMAGINE Act is also endorsed by the American Composites Manufacturers Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

A summary of the bill is available here; bill text is available here.

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921