U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and three other congressmen from both sides of the political divide have introduced an infrastructure bill that urges the use of cutting-edge building materials.
The Innovative Materials for America’s Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded — called the IMAGINE Act — aims to vastly improve infrastructure nationwide. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., have introduced the Senate version of the bill.
“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.”
“Infrastructure is the foundation that connects our businesses, communities and people in the state of Illinois,” said Marsia Geldert-Murphey, PE, Region 7 director, American Society of Civil Engineers. “It affects us all every single day from the air we breathe, to the roads we drive, and the water we drink. Illinois received a “C-” on the ASCE 2018 Illinois Infrastructure Report Card, meaning it is barely in mediocre condition, and requires immediate attention. The IMAGINE Act is a critical first step in improving our nation’s infrastructure. From a local perspective, Illinois’ bridges, highways, transit systems and water lines – and the deterioration of these aging systems— are costing all our families in Illinois and across the country $9 a day, which is $3,400 each year, in disposable income. I enthusiastically applaud this bill’s goal of encouraging research and use of innovative construction materials and techniques in our transportation and water infrastructure projects.”
The other congressmen introducing the bill are David Cicilline, D-R.I., Rick Larsen, D-Wash., and Don Young, R-Ark.
“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.”
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 that have leverage their innovations and expertise to grow their industry.