Late last week, the House passed the biggest U.S. infrastructure package in decades, marking a victory for President Joe Biden and unleashing $550 billion of fresh spending. Here are key provisions in the bill for the auto industry.
EV charging network
The bill sets aside $7.5 billion to help build a national network of electric vehicle charging stations. The White House says the funds will be used to build EV chargers along highway corridors to facilitate long-distance travel and within communities to make charging more convenient. Biden’s ultimate goal is to have a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers.
The legislation sets deadlines for the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue rules on automatic shut-off for keyless ignition systems, updated headlamp standards and a requirement for new vehicles to be equipped with drunken-driving and impaired-driving prevention technology.
After the House passed the bill, the Center for Auto Safety said in a statement: “While our 51 years of fighting for consumer protection and safety from vehicle crashes has taught us that progress can be slow and painful at times, it is possible.”
Updating the electric grid
There is $65 billion in the bill for upgrades to the nation’s electric grid. The money will fund new transmission lines and “support the development, demonstration, and deployment of cutting-edge clean energy technologies,” according to the White House.
The House has yet to vote on the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act that makes up much of the rest of Biden’s domestic agenda — separate from the infrastructure bill. It includes a controversial additional tax credit for union-built EVs. Automakers with U.S. factories that are not unionized, including Volkswagen Group of America and Toyota Motor North America, have publicly called the union-friendly incentive unfair. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the legislation would be passed before the Nov. 25 Thanksgiving holiday. In a statement, moderates said they would allow for a vote no later than the week of Nov. 15.