The White House said June 29 it would veto the $1.5 trillion infrastructure package known as The Moving Forward Act that the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up today, saying that H.R. 2 is biased against rural America, debt-financed and full of wasteful ‘Green New Deal’ initiatives.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last week advanced H.R. 2, the INVEST in America Act, which became the largest component of The Moving Forward Act. Any infrastructure bill passed by the House would need to be conferenced with a Senate bill. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed its version of a highway bill last summer, but that measure has not yet been voted on by the full Senate.
NATSO, along with the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, opposed the INVEST Act after a provision in the Manager’s Amendment permitted electric vehicle charging at rest areas. This essentially carves out an exception for electric vehicle charging to the longstanding federal law prohibiting the sale of fuel, food and other services at rest areas.
The INVEST Act also includes a provision in Section 1303 that would allow investor-owned utilities to “double-dip” and receive federal grants even if they have already raised rates on all of their customers to underwrite electric vehicle charging infrastructure investments.
NATSO supports efforts to develop an alternative fuel corridor grant program and expand the adoption of alternative fuels, including electric vehicle charging. However as currently written, the House policies stand to discourage private sector investment in electric vehicle charging, and stifle the market’s transition to electric vehicles.
NATSO supports the Senate approach, which creates a regulatory framework that is far more compatible with increasing investment in EV charging infrastructure than the INVEST Act. The Senate EPW bill included grants for EV charging infrastructure along highway corridors similar to the INVEST Act, but does not commercialize rest areas or encourage utilities to double-dip.
Notably, H.R. 2 would make it more difficult for states to toll existing Interstate Highways. It would eliminate all existing authority, including various pilot programs and bridge and tunnel exemptions, and replace it with new streamlined tolling authority that allows states to install tolls on new capacity. This is already permitted under current law. The bill also places more limits on tolling non-Interstate highways on the National Highway System than currently exist.
The Moving Forward Act does not address the issue of Highway Trust Fund solvency. The bill would require a $145 billion infusion from the general fund to fill the gap between gas tax receipts into the Highway Trust Fund and the bill's spending total.
The Moving Forward Act also contains many items that are not historically part of an infrastructure bill. It allocates dollars for housing, schools, energy infrastructure and broadband among others.
Highways and Transit Subcommittee ranking member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said it would be his first time voting against a transportation bill.
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