The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) is expected to release its surface transportation bill early next week with a committee mark up moved up to July 30.
Although the bill has not yet been released, it is expected to authorize $287 billion in highway spending over five years, marking a 28 percent increase over the current authorization law. Ninety percent, or $259 billion, would go to states by formula, keeping in line with policy positions expressed by EPW Committee Chairman John Barrasso (D-Wyo.).
The committee has said that it will release the full text of its bill on Monday, July 29.
Of importance to NATSO members, the measure is expected to contain a grant program to support the creation of alternative fuel corridors, including electric vehicle charging and natural gas refueling stations. NATSO worked diligently to ensure that its members will have maximum access to that grant money and that there will be no refueling stations at rest areas.
For its part, NATSO supports private sector investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The travel plaza and truckstop industry is making significant investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and thinks that private sector investment is key to meeting the fueling needs of the traveling public. NATSO opposes allowing public utilities to unfairly compete against the private sector by utilizing rate payer dollars to make such investments, which would effectively destroy the incentive for private sector investment.
Although EPW aims to mark up its bill before heading out for its August district work period, the committee only has jurisdiction over highways. Other committees, including the Senate Finance Committee, which is responsible for finding a way to pay for the measure, will need to add their Titles to the bill before it can go before the full Senate.
As of July 24, Senate Finance Committee Chair Senator Chuck Grassley said his committee had not yet started working on its part of a surface transportation bill.
On the House side, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) also has set a different timetable for putting forward his committee’s version of a surface transportation bill.
Rep. DeFazio has said that “optimistically” his committee could have a bill ready by the end of this year or early next.
Current surface transportation law is set to expire in Sept. 2020.
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