The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is seeking nominations for the second phase of its multi-year plan to establish alternative fuel corridors for alternative fueling stations as mandated under the December 2015 highway bill.
Any state or local agency is allowed to nominate a corridor for an alternative fuel corridor designation, and NATSO members can work with state and local agencies to ensure that their alternative fuel locations are incorporated into the nomination process.
NATSO staff can assist members who seek to have their location included in the nomination process. Nominations are due by Nov. 30, 2017.
In the highway bill passed in late 2015, Congress directed DOT to identify and establish alternative fueling corridors to support alternative-fueling stations, including electric, hydrogen, propane and natural gas fueling infrastructure at strategic locations along major national highways. DOT was further charged with identifying the near- and long-term need for, and locations of, electric vehicle, natural gas, and propane refueling infrastructure for both passenger and commercial vehicles.
It’s important for NATSO members to know that although DOT is currently only identifying the locations and implementing highway signage noting these locations, eventually retailers on these corridors may be able to receive federal funding.
FHWA in November 2016 identified the initial designations that will serve as the basis for a network of “alternative fuel” corridors. FHWA identified 55 routes spanning 35 States and covering almost 85,000 miles of the National Highway System as either “Signage Ready,” meaning that there are a sufficient number of facilities on the corridor to warrant signage that alerts drivers of the availability of alternative fueling stations, or “Signage Pending,” meaning that the corridor did not have sufficient alternative fuel facilities to warrant highway signage.
NATSO continues to urge DOT to harness the knowledge and ingenuity of existing exit-based businesses for private investment for alternative fuel infrastructure without preempting consumer demand or forcing the private sector to compete with the government. Furthering alternative fueling facilities, such as natural gas and electric vehicle charging stations, is best realized if the travel plaza and truckstop industry's business environment is recognized as an asset.
Most recently, NATSO has been working with DOT and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine where alternative fueling infrastructure is currently located and where industry can close existing gaps in those corridors in an effort to grow the market for clean technologies.
NATSO also is working to identify strategic alternative fueling partnerships to help its members bring alternative fuel to consumers. NATSO Vice President of Government Affairs David Fialkov is scheduled to speak Sept. 26 at a National Diesel Collaborative meeting held at the New Jersey Institute of Technology to discuss strategies for advancing alternative fuel use and clean transportation.
NATSO thinks its members' locations could play a vital role in establishing alternative fuel corridors. However, NATSO strongly opposes the installation of alternative-fueling stations at rest areas and thinks states should work with existing exit-based businesses to install them at private businesses. Furthermore, NATSO thinks that state governments should not provide transportation fuel, including electric charging stations, paid for with tax dollars.
Offering electric charging services or natural gas at rest areas would allow the state to enter into direct competition with the private businesses already operating near the interstate exit interchanges to meet the fueling needs of the motoring public. In addition, state governments would preempt consumer demand for new technology and emerging fuels, effectively destroying the incentive for private sector investment.
NATSO members that wish to be part of the nomination process should contact NATSO Vice President of Government Affairs David Fialkov at 703-739-8501 or firstname.lastname@example.org or NATSO Vice President of Public Affairs Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman at 703-739-8578 or email@example.com.
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