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SENATE APPROVES $1T BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

csnews.com

The measure helps create a competitive market for electric vehicle charging infrastructure that will benefit convenience retailers.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate voted 69-30 Tuesday to approve the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The legislation allocates nearly $550 billion in new spending above what Congress was already planning to allocate for infrastructure over the next eight years.

Lawmakers set aside the largest share of the money, $110 billion, for roads and bridges.

The infrastructure bill also includes roughly:

  • $73 billion for electric grid and power infrastructure
  • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail
  • $65 billion for broadband investments
  • $55 billion for water systems and infrastructure
  • $50 billion for western water storage
  • $39 billion for public transit
  • $25 billion for airports
  • $21 billion for environmental remediation projects
  • $17 billion for ports and waterways
  • $15 billion for electric vehicles
  • $11 billion for road safety

It also includes an alternative fuels corridor grant program, along with language and programs to facilitate better coordination with key stakeholders and the states.

NACS, NATSO and SIGMA — which represent a nationwide network of 150,000 refueling locations and sell 90 percent of motor fuels sold at retail — worked with Senators to ensure that convenience and fuel retailers would be part of the coordination effort and be eligible for the grant program.

“The Senate’s bipartisan bill begins the process of creating a competitive market for electric vehicle charging infrastructure that will benefit convenience retailers and consumers for years to come,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour. “We have been pleased to work with senators from both parties to make progress on alternative energy and look forward to continuing those partnerships as these discussions continue.”

In addition, the associations worked with Congress to make sure the program would be structured in such a way to encourage private sector investment and a competitive market for electric vehicle (EV) charging. They also worked with negotiators to not lift the ban on rest area commercialization or provide an exception for EV chargers at rest areas.

“The policies established by the IIJA, while not perfect, will ensure that our industry can compete on a level playing field and encourage private sector investments in alternative transportation energy,” commented NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings.

During floor consideration, NACS, NATSO and SIGMA worked to defeat efforts to amend the bipartisan bill to allow EV chargers at rest areas that had already been agreed to by the bipartisan group of Senators that negotiated the base bill, in addition to language to revise an amendment that would have indirectly allowed EV chargers to be installed at rest areas.

“We appreciate the difficult work it took to get bipartisan agreement on this bill and are pleased that the policy choices made on transportation energy infrastructure point toward a future in which the private sector can dramatically increase the alternative energy options available to consumers across the nation,” said Richard Guttman, president of SIGMA. “The competitive market dynamics that govern the retail fuel market today can be replicated to accommodate emerging fuels.”

With the House and Senate both passing infrastructure bills, the next step will be to iron out the differences. House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have said they would not consider the Senate bill unless a broader “human” infrastructure package is included.

The Senate is currently working on its budget and reconciliation bill that would include those issues that are not in the bipartisan infrastructure package, such as broader climate provisions, health care and prescription drugs.

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