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What’s Next for Infrastructure Legislation

 

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the Senate’s top priority is approving a highway infrastructure bill this year. Current surface transportation law is set to expire in September 2020. The Majority Leader’s statement followed the President’s State of the Union (SOTU) address in which President Trump urged Congress to approve the Senate surface transportation bill (S.2302), although the President did not provide suggestions on how to pay for the proposal.

President Trump promoted the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee bill which would cost $287 billion, as compared to the $760 billion infrastructure blueprint released by the House last week. The bipartisan Senate bill was passed by the committee unanimously last year. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) also announced that drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) should pay for using the roads, which PMAA strongly agrees should occur. Chairman Barrasso stated that “there isn’t a single answer, but among other solutions, I believe that the electric vehicle, which currently pays no federal gas tax, actually needs to make a contribution and pay into the system as well.” Unfortunately, the Senate EPW committee does not have jurisdiction over finding a “pay for” for the highway bill. The Senate Finance Committee is tasked with finding a “pay for” and has yet to announce any details.

Of concern in the Senate EPW highway bill is Section 1401 which would create a $1 billion grant program for states to deploy electric vehicle, hydrogen and natural gas vehicle charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors. PMAA is concerned that the grant program does not provide for the equitable distribution of funds or account for other investment required for infrastructure changes that may be needed to accommodate EV and alternative fueling equipment such as upgrades to site utilities, adding land, and expanding paved areas and operating costs. In addition, the focus on alternative fuel corridors will result in a preference for grants to companies that have multiple sites distributed along major transportation routes. As with other grants for alternative fuels, small to medium c-stores will be placed at a competitive disadvantage.

In related news, Reps. Andy Levin (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) introduced legislation known as the “EV Freedom Act” (H.R. 5770) that would create a nationwide electric vehicle (EV) charging network within five years by installing high-speed EV chargers along the federal Interstate and highway systems.

FROM PMAA

Federal Infrastructure







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