NATSO on May 10 submitted its comments in response to a request for stakeholder input from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure with regard to the Committee’s work on infrastructure this Congress.
In its comments, NATSO urged the T&I Committee to facilitates a process whereby the United States can recalibrate how it pays for infrastructure, such as increasing the motor fuels taxes. NATSO also expressed opposition to counter-productive “shortcuts” to real infrastructure investment, including tolling existing Interstates and commercializing Interstate rest areas.
NATSO further expressed support for policies that incentivize fuel retailers to invest in bringing alternative fuels to market and reward businesses that make these investments.
NATSO submitted its comments in advance of its annual fly-in, scheduled to be held May 15, when 65 truckstop and travel plaza operators will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers to advocate for the policy needs of the truckstop and travel plaza industry.
NATSO in late April led a coalition of 15 trade associations representing off-highway communities, businesses, alternative fuel advocates and the National Federation of the Blind in urging members of the House T&I Committee to oppose efforts to commercialize Interstate rest areas as they consider infrastructure legislation this year.
In its May 10 comments, NATSO said that recent market and technological innovations pertaining to autonomous vehicles, ride-sharing, fuel efficiency, and electrification of the vehicle fleet present tempting opportunities to dramatically alter how transportation is funded and regulated in the United States. However, NATSO urged lawmakers not to allow these forward-looking developments and trends to distract from the real, near-term need for investment.
"The best outcome would be legislation that facilitates a process whereby the U.S. can recalibrate how it pays for infrastructure as it moves into the middle part of the 21st Century, while at the same time providing a mechanism to adequately fund such investment in the near-term as the process plays out," NATSO said in its comments. "In the near-term, raising motor fuels excise taxes is the most efficient way to generate additional revenue for the U.S. highway system."
It is not often that an industry urges Congress to raise taxes on the primary goods that it sells. The travel center industry, however, would aggressively support any effort to raise the federal excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel.
In discussing EV charging infrastructure incentives, NATSO said in its comments that utility companies should not be encouraged to compete with the private sector for electric vehicle customers.
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