WASHINGTON—After a long summer of debate, committee action and negotiations, the Senate yesterday passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by a bipartisan vote of 69-30. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill includes an allocation of $550 billion for new spending. The bill covers funding for roads, bridges, water infrastructure, freight rail, transit systems, the electric grid and broadband. In addition, an alternative fuels corridor grant program was included in the bill, along with language and programs to facilitate better coordination with key stakeholders and the states.
NACS, with NATSO and SIGMA, worked with senators to ensure that convenience and fuel retailers would be part of that coordination effort and be eligible for the grant program. In addition, NACS, NATSO and SIGMA 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 EV charging. The groups also worked with negotiators to not lift the ban on rest area commercialization or provide an exception for EV chargers at rest areas.
In response to passage of the Senate infrastructure package, Henry Armour, president and CEO of NACS, stated, “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.”
Armour continued, stating, “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.”
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 stopping an amendment, the groups also worked with senators to draft compromise language to revise an amendment that would have indirectly allowed EV chargers to be installed at rest areas.
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.