The Senate on the evening of July 28 voted 67-32 to proceed to a bipartisan infrastructure bill that was the product of weeks of negotiations among a core group of 10 senators (five Democrats and five Republicans). The deal, which has the backing of President Biden, includes $550 billion in new federal spending (compared with the $578 billion figure initially agreed upon in June) and more than $1 trillion in total spending (the rest coming from anticipated federal investments in highways and roadways that Congress must authorize every year. The proposed package features historic investments in the nation's core infrastructure including roads and bridges, rail, transit, ports, airports, water systems and broadband. It includes a five-year reauthorization of highway programs.
Legislative text has not yet been released, but based on early summaries that have been circulating and some high level conversations with Capitol Hill staff, the bill appears to include:
- at least $7.5 billion in investment in electric vehicle charging stations. NATSO actively worked to ensure that grant recipients, generally state and local governments, must contract with private entities to own and operate charging stations, as opposed to government-owned refueling infrastructure.
- a directive to state public utility commissions to explore ways to enhance third-party investment in EV charging stations. An earlier iteration of the legislation directed the PUCs to explore ways to enhance electric utility investment in EV charging stations. NATSO actively worked to remove the "electric utility" reference and replace it with "third party" investment.
- No carve-out for electric vehicle charging stations to be placed at Interstate rest areas. This has been a top priority for both Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer, and they will likely continue to pursue it.
Along with all Democratic senators and both Independents, 17 Republicans voted to proceed to the bill: Sens. Blunt (MO), Burr (NC), Capito (WV), Cassidy (LA), Collins (ME), Cramer (ND), Crapo (ID), Graham (SC), Grassley (IA), Hoeven (ND), McConnell (KY), Murkowski (AK), Portman (OH), Risch (ID), Romney (UT), Tillis (NC) and Young (IN).
The bill still faces a lengthy path to enactment. Legislative text must be finalized and voted on by the full Senate, which could come by the end of next week. It then must be approved by the House, which according to Speaker Pelosi will not take up the legislation unless and until the Senate passes a separate, $3.5 trillion "reconciliation" proposal. That package will occupy much of our advocacy activity when Congress returns from the August recess.
NATSO will continue closely monitoring this situation and provide updates in the coming days as new information comes to light.
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