Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Moving Forward Act (HR 2), a $1.5 trillion, 2,300-page package of infrastructure priorities. The nucleus of the bill authorizes $494 billion for surface transportation programs such as roads and bridges yet it also expands programs to accelerate electric fleets and infrastructure.
The bill provides $350 million in grants to build electric vehicle chargers, and hydrogen, natural gas and propane fueling infrastructure for 2022 through 2025.
The bill would create a new tax credit of up to $2,500 for buyers of used electric vehicles, or 30% of the sale price. It would increase the cap on an auto manufacturer’s federal EV tax credits from 200,000 to 600,000.
The bill would require at least 75% percent of new vehicles purchased by the U.S. Postal Service to be electric and install EV charging stations at all public post office locations by 2026.
The bill also looks to modernize the electric grid to be capable of handling more EVs and gives credits to renewable energy companies for the development of future products.
Alternative energy trade groups expressed support for the bill: “The Electric Drive Transportation (EDTA) applauds the bill’s support for electric drive transportation and its recognition that electric transportation is a central element of a 21st century transportation sector and of a meaningful climate change strategy.”
Yet the bill includes a provision that would more than double the minimum level of financial responsibility for trucking companies, which would mandate higher motor carrier insurance minimums, if adopted.
Trucking associations voiced their opposition:
The National Association of Small Trucking Companies stated: “… we write in opposition to H.R. 2, the INVEST in America Act, noting especially an amendment, mandating higher motor carrier insurance minimums, adopted in markup to an already egregious bill.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association stated: “OPPOSE Final Passage of H.R. 2 …
“Section 4408 will do absolutely NOTHING to improve safety on our highways. There is not an ounce of reputable research that indicates imposing such a dramatic increase in insurance coverage do anything to reduce crash rates. In fact, federal research reveals how unnecessary this proposal is by confirming only 0.06% of crashes result in damages that exceed today’s minimum coverage limits.
“What this provision will do is destroy small trucking businesses in every corner of the country. Increasing the minimum insurance requirements from $750,000 to $2,000,000 in the midst of a major economic downturn would be nothing short of disastrous for many small motor carriers and owner-operators, who are currently struggling to stay in business due to historically low freight rates.”
Republicans ridiculed the bill as filled with Democratic priorities, while Democrats said an alternative Republican committee proposal did not contain any mandates to address carbon emissions or climate change.
The bill has been sent to the Senate, where it likely won’t be taken up as written. “This so-called infrastructure bill would siphon billions in funding from actual infrastructure to funnel into climate change policies,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor last Wednesday.