ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Yesterday, before leaving for the Independence Day holiday weekend, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 221-201 H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act, the $715 billion, five-year surface transportation and water infrastructure bill.
In a press release after the party-line vote, NACS, along with NATSO and SIGMA, expressed disappointment that the legislation included provisions that would undermine the ability of fuel retailers and truck stop operators to make investments in EV charging stations and create a competitive marketplace for EV drivers.
“NACS supports infrastructure investments that will leverage private funds and lead to improvements throughout the nation,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour. “This bill does the opposite and will depress overall investment in critical new technologies like electric vehicle charging. The policies related to electric vehicle charging put forth in this legislation undermine the necessary business case for EV charging infrastructure, making it more difficult for the private sector to make such investments.”
The fuel retail groups stressed their support of increased investment in infrastructure, including alternatives to traditional motor fuel such as EV charging, hydrogen and natural gas fueling. In the release, they emphasized that public policy should support and incentivize private investment in these and other alternatives, but H.R. 3684 falls short.
H.R. 3684 included funding for several incentives, such as grants and rebates, for EV charging infrastructure. However, these programs, as drafted, impede private sector investment and miss an opportunity to inject competition and more private sector investment in the EV charging marketplace. Specifically, the bill includes a provision that allows EV charging stations at interstate rest areas. Such commercial services at rest areas have been shown to reduce private investment in those services at interstate exits resulting in less, not more, of those offerings for motorists.
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, tried to offer an amendment to H.R. 3684 to modify the rest area provision, but the amendment was not allowed to be considered on the floor. NACS, NATSO and SIGMA strongly supported this amendment and appreciate Rep. Larsen’s leadership on the issue.
NACS also opposed several last-minute provisions added by the House Energy and Commerce Committee that will award grants and rebates to investor-owned utilities that also use rate payer dollars to invest in EV charging stations, essentially allowing them to double dip. H.R. 3684 does not include sufficient guardrails to facilitate an open and competitive market for EV charging and fails to protect and provide fairness to all electricity consumers.
The Senate is expected to move its surface transportation and infrastructure package later this summer. While there appears to be some bipartisan agreement around parts of the package, discussions are still taking place on how to pay for the bill.