NATSO, the national association representing the travel plaza and truckstop industry, and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) today commended the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for advancing a bipartisan, five-year, $303.5 billion highway reauthorization bill, “Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021.”
NATSO and NACS applaud the Committee for ensuring that highway and infrastructure programs are adequately funded without repealing the federal prohibitions on tolling existing interstates or commercializing rest areas.
“We applaud Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.VA.) for introducing a bipartisan effort to address the nation’s critical infrastructure needs through the ‘Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021’,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “This measure marks a critical step in ensuring that we adequately fund surface transportation and address the nation’s infrastructure needs. We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that we advance those opportunities that harness the private sector’s ingenuity to take meaningful steps to improve the environment.”
“Bipartisan agreement on how to address our infrastructure needs is welcome,” said NACS CEO Henry Armour. “We look forward to continued work with the Senate to ensure that the legislation takes full advantage of the opportunity to leverage private sector investment and bring the benefits of competitive markets to all vehicle drivers. It is essential that any infrastructure bill avoids the negative repercussions that could come if funding mechanisms were used to undermine the competitive market.”
NATSO and NACS strongly support private sector investments in alternative fuels, including renewable diesel, biodiesel, natural gas, ethanol and electric vehicle charging, and the travel plaza, truckstop and convenience store industries are making significant investments in this regard.
NATSO and NACS support efforts to prioritize private investment in electric vehicle charging and other alternative fuels along designated highway corridors.
We commend the EPW Committee members for ensuring that grant recipients must contract with a private entity rather than allowing the government to own and operate refueling infrastructure. Ensuring that the private sector invests in alternatives is key to meeting the fueling needs of the traveling public.
With regard to electric vehicle charging, the associations urge Congress to implement additional guardrails to ensure that utilities are not permitted to make all electricity customers pay for them to own and operate EV charging stations while also receiving federal funds for their installation. That double-dipping would waste federal funds and force utility customers to provide a regressive subsidy.
The private sector is both willing and able to make these investments on a competitive basis.
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