Congress Introduces Legislation to Advance Infrastructure with Composites

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) announced that both chambers of Congress have introduced new legislation that takes steps to 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 for America’s Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded, 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 position our industry to deliver solutions to these major national priorities,” says Tom Dobbins, ACMA president. “Congress must consider whether to rebuild American infrastructure with 20th century solutions unable to deliver the performance needed to drive the society and economy of today or deploy the best materials available in the 21st century that last longer, require less maintenance, and install with ease.”

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 an 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, weather resilience and 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 materials like FRP composites.

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