In a recent press release, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) introduced the Innovative Materials for America’s Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act, a bipartisan effort aimed at promoting the research and deployment of innovative construction materials in transportation and water infrastructure projects nationwide.
Senator Collins emphasized the importance of leveraging the skills of engineers, citing the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) as a pioneer in cutting-edge materials and methods. Notably, Dr. Habib Dagher, Executive Director of the ASCC, praised the IMAGINE Act, highlighting its critical role in maintaining U.S. technological leadership in the advanced materials space.
“The IMAGINE Actwill be critical to maintaining U.S. technological leadership in the advanced materials space, and the stakes are very high. New construction is expected to be worth nearly $2 trillion in the U.S. annually, and the construction industry is worth more than 10% of the world GDP,” saidDr. Habib J. Dagher, Executive Director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine. “Developing construction materials that are environmentally friendly, lighter, faster to install, and that will last longer will create jobs, save taxpayer dollars, and improve the safety of the traveling public. Can we IMAGINE bridges that can be built in days using materials that last decades with little maintenance? We applaud Senator Collins and her colleagues for challenging America’s best engineers and scientists to IMAGINE.”
Dr. Habib J. Dagher
Executive Director, Advanced Structures & Composites Center, University of Maine
Dagher emphasized the potential for environmentally friendly, durable materials that can improve construction efficiency and create jobs. The IMAGINE Act proposes the creation of a task force to assess federal standards for infrastructure materials and encourages research into new building techniques. It also calls for the formation of innovative materials hubs across the country, drawing inspiration from successful models such as the UMaine center. The legislation has gained endorsement from the American Composites Manufacturers Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers.