The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is expected to release its draft highway reauthorization bill this week. The INVEST in America Act will provide $494 billion in funding over a period of five years for highway, transit, safety, and research programs, a 46 percent increase over current investment levels. NATSO has lobbied actively to ensure that it does not expand tolling or rest area commercialization activities. Although final bill text has not been released, committee staff have shared some top-line items:
Electric Vehicle Charging and Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Grants
The bill will provide a more robust alternative fuel corridor grant program than what the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed last summer. NATSO has generally supported these grant programs because, implemented properly, they provide fuel retailers with the opportunity for grant money to subsidize alternative fuel infrastructure. The bill will provide $350 million per year for grants for electric vehicle charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Focuses funding on designated Alternative Fuel Corridors and projects that demonstrate the most effective emissions reductions.
The bill will include several provisions that will make it more difficult for states to install tolls on existing interstates. Specifically, the bill reestablishes the requirement that FHWA enter into a toll agreement before allowing tolling on a
Federal-aid highway. It also establishes additional guardrails around tolling to ensure that any adverse impacts both on and off the facility are evaluated and addressed. It also authorizes congestion pricing with the additional guardrails.
Vehicle-Miles Traveled (VMT) Pilots
The bill nearly doubles funding for VMT pilots across the country, encouraging states to begin implementing successful VMT programs. It also establishes a national VMT pilot program, including both passenger and commercial vehicles in all 50 states, to invest in developing a sustainable funding mechanism for the surface transportation system.
Commercial Motor Vehicles
The bill directs the Department of Transportation to complete a rulemaking to require Automatic Emergency Braking systems in newly-manufactured commercial motor vehicles, and to strengthen rear underride guard standards in newly-manufactured trailers and semi-trailers, to further research and consider the feasibility, benefits, and costs associated with installing side underride guards, and creates an Advisory Committee on Underride Protection.
When actual bill text is released, NATSO will provide additional analysis.
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