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Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty

Representing the 5th District of Connecticut


Esty, Comstock, Cicilline Introduce IMAGINE Act

August 2, 2018
Press Release
Bill would call for expanded use of innovative materials in infrastructure projects

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Tomorrow, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-10), and Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01) will introduce the Innovative Materials for American Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act. The bill would encourage the research and use of innovative construction materials. The move to use more innovative materials would extend the lifecycle of water and transportation infrastructure projects that are more resilient to flooding and corrosion.

Additionally, the legislation would call for advancing the study and implementation of projects that utilize cutting edge materials and techniques which help speed construction. The IMAGINE Act also includes language that would create an Interagency Innovative Materials Task Force to assess existing standards and test methods for the use of innovative and composite materials in infrastructure. Moreover, the Interagency Task Force would work to identify key barriers in the current standards and explore developing, when necessary, new methods of protocols to better evaluate innovative materials. The price of failing to build, maintain, and repair our infrastructure is costing American families $3,400 dollars each year in disposable income and jeopardizes 2.5 million jobs between now and 2025. The IMAGINE Act has support from a number of leading national organizations who are committed to improving American infrastructure. 

“Innovative materials and techniques speed up project deployment, extend the life cycle of infrastructure projects, and are more resilient to storms and corrosion. In Connecticut, public sector and private sector groups are rapidly advancing the use of innovative materials and techniques in infrastructure projects,” said Esty. “It is vital to the success of these projects that we begin to lay the foundation for more sustainable materials and productive techniques that will allow America to rebuild its infrastructure.”

“Research and innovation are essential to getting better infrastructure outcomes for our tax dollars. The IMAGINE Act supports projects that will lead to cost-savings so our local governments can spend their tax dollars more efficiently and get longer lasting results,” said Comstock.

“When it comes to manufacturing innovative composite materials for construction, no one does better than Rhode Island,” said Cicilline. “This bill will help create full-time, good-paying jobs and strengthen a critical, emerging sector of our economy.”

“One of the most important aspects of this legislation is that it creates a cooperative environment that fosters innovation among several industries.  It lays the foundation for the introduction of more sustainable materials and productive techniques as America rebuilds its infrastructure,” said Don Shubert, President of Connecticut Construction Industries Association.

“O&G Industries which produces construction materials through our regional network of asphalt plants, concrete plants and quarries located throughout Connecticut and Eastern New York strongly supports the Innovative Materials in American Grid and Infrastructure Newly Expanded Act (IMAGINE) of 2018 introduced by Representative Elizabeth Esty,” said R. Bradford Oneglia, Vice President of O&G Industries, Inc. in Torrington, Connecticut. “We congratulate Representative Esty for her leadership in introducing a bill that will bring together the various stakeholders in government, academia and industry to work together to accelerate the development and deployment of higher-performing materials and construction methods that benefit all users.  As a contractor, we believe that industry must be at the table to ensure the innovations are economical, practical, and deployable in the field.  The leadership of O&G is pleased to support the legislation and urges that it be enacted by the Congress this year.”  

“The need for sustainable solutions has never been greater than it is right now and the IMAGINE Act creates a green opportunity to meet the needs of both taxpayers and the environment. The bill provides incentives for the use of innovative materials including ready-mix cement products made from the beneficial use of coal ash or slag cement in public construction projects such as span structures, highway repairs and bridges. Doing so will produce a stronger, more durable and longer lasting concrete and at the same time protect the environment from unnecessary disposal of fly ash in landfills,” said Peter D’Amico, a Managing Director for SCB International Holdings, a Charah Solution company in Newtown, Connecticut.
“For years, we have encouraged Congress to think outside the box to develop infrastructure legislation that incentivizes the increased use of composites and other innovative materials. The IMAGINE Act does exactly that, and our allies in Congress understand the urgency of this issue and will work hard to ensure the bill passes,” said Tom Dobbins, President of American Composites Manufacturers Association.

“The IMAGINE Act is the next step in advancing the research and technology of materials used in building America’s great highway and bridges.  With the next generation of autonomous vehicles on the horizon and congestion expected to significantly increase, this legislation will ensure pavement technologies are deployed that meet the challenges and opportunities in bringing the existing infrastructure up to a state of good repair and meet the future needs of our citizens,” said Curtis Hall, the General Manager of Allan Myers. “The IMAGINE Act will be an important piece of the puzzle in restoring our country’s highways, roads and bridges for the 21st Century. I want to thank Congresswoman Esty for her leadership in advocating for real solutions that will sustain our Nation’s economy.”

“Federally-led research has led to the deployment of longer-lasting, sustainable, and cost-effective pavement materials being deployed across the country.  This research has led to great advances in both the materials and construction techniques being used in America’s highway pavements.   Federally-funded research has the effect of bringing various stakeholders together to imagine the possibilities and develop useful, practical technologies that can be deployed in the field,” said Craig Parker, NAPA Chairman and Executive Vice President of Silver Star Construction Company. “While great strides have been made in developing pavement technologies that increase the use of recycled asphalt pavements and deploying warm-mix asphalt, the IMAGINE Act will lead the way in developing the next generation of pavements that will be even more safe, more sustainable and more economical.  This is an important topic that Congress is finally addressing under the leadership of Congresswoman Esty and others and should be supported by all members of Congress.” 

Esty, who is the Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, released a bipartisan framework to renew America’s roads, bridges, airports, waterways, electrical grid, and broadband networks in January, an approach that received the praise of senior White House officials. She continues to collaborate with the administration, as well as Republicans and Democrats in Congress, to secure meaningful infrastructure investment.