US Congress Introduces Legislation to Advance Composites in Infrastructure

07 August 2018

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) has announced that both chambers of Congress have introduced new legislation that takes steps to improve the resilience of the US energy grid, surface transportation and water infrastructure through the promotion of fibre 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 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 modernise 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," explains 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."

Specifically, the bill calls for:

  • Reforms to existing highway programmes to incentivise the use of innovative materials;
  • Creation of an inter-agency task force for standards development for innovative composites;
  • Authorisation of a new Innovative Bridge Programme at the Federal Highway Administration and Innovative Water Infrastructure Programme 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 utilise innovative materials like composites.

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