Congressional Update: Republican Infrastructure Plan; Climate Summit; Electric Vehicles
U.S. Senate Republicans announced a $568 billion infrastructure framework that focuses on roads, bridges, water systems, and broadband as an alternative to President Biden’s infrastructure plan.
The proposal, which Senate Democrats criticized as insufficient, would also impose user fees from drivers of electric, hybrid, and other vehicles not affected by the federal gas tax.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) announced that he still plans to mark up his infrastructure package by late May, which could ultimately be bundled with other aspects of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan depending on the fate of negotiations.
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), a close ally of President Biden’s, suggested that Democrats and Republicans could agree on a smaller package focused on conventional infrastructure before turning to other more partisan provisions later in the year.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) even suggested that infrastructure could be broken into as many as four different packages.
He called for regular order (not budget reconciliation), and said he opposed a $1 trillion price tag as well as any fees on carbon.
Continuing the bipartisan message, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is hosting an event with a bipartisan group of Senators, Governors, and Representatives to discuss Infrastructure.
President Biden opened his virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate, a two-day event with 40 world leaders. He announced the United States’ new commitment under the Paris Accords – achieving a 50-52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030.
The Biden Administration also announced several new programs to advance electric vehicle deployment.
The Department of Transportation announced its fifth round of “Alternative Fuel Corridor” designations, which denote highways with infrastructure plans to allow for travel on alternative fuels, including electricity.
The current round of announcements includes 51 interstates and 50 highways in 25 states. DOT also released guidance clarifying that federal funds are available for EV charging systems on the national highway system.
In addition, the Department of Energy announced funding opportunities for researching technologies that reduce the cost of EV supply equipment and accelerate the adoption of commercially available plug-in EVs.
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