ACRA Submits Comments on Biden Administration EV Charging Infrastructure Program
ACRA on January 27th filed detailed comments (ACRA FHWA Comments) with the Federal Highway Administration regarding the implementation of the electric vehicle infrastructure grant program created by the 2021 federal surface transportation/highway bill. ACRA’s overall comments can be summarized in the following bullet points:
- Public charging infrastructure must support “open fleet” usage models – especially for shared mobility service models to flourish;
- Charging hardware and software must be standardized so that all electric vehicles can charge at every charging station and “Level 3” (fast charging) must be widely available to duplicate the internal combustion engine refueling expectations to which all consumers have become accustomed over decades of experience;
- Charging infrastructure must provide an opportunity for customers to charge at home, at work and at play;
- Electricity grid infrastructure must be resilient to ensure the electric vehicle power supply is available where and when it is needed to respond to electric vehicle load demands (which likely will be very different than residential or commercial demands on the grid);
- Co-investment in private infrastructure that supports adoption of electric vehicles must be encouraged and incentivized through federal and state tax and EV acquisition policies;
- Incentives for personal vehicle and fleet transition should be encouraged at the federal, state and local levels of government;
- Co-investment by public agencies, private companies and fleets, and electric utilities to upgrade electricity infrastructure to facilitate fleet charging (not only the chargers but upgrading the grid and substations, etc.); and,
- Public charging infrastructure should attempt to replicate, to the maximum extent possible, the current consumer fueling experience to reduce consumer resistance to changes in long-standing vehicle fueling habits.
“Human Infrastructure”/ Budget Reconciliation Fails in Senate, but Could Be Revisited in Pieces
The liberal and moderate factions of the Senate Democratic caucus were unable to come together on a slimmed down version of President Biden’s “Built Back Better” legislative proposal in January, effectively killing the House-passed $2.2 trillion “Human Infrastructure”/Budget Reconciliation” bill. The opposition of Democratic Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema (D-AZ) prevented Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer from securing the 50 votes necessary to pass the bill. Both the White House and Senate leaders have indicated that they will seek agreement within their caucus to pass parts of the bill separately in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned for developments on that front.
A summary of the House-passed Budget Reconciliation bill is attached here for those interested policy wonks or insomniacs (BBB Summary). Key portions of the budget reconciliation bill of interest to ACRA members: (1) federal tax credits (30% of purchase price) for purchase of new commercial EVs and other clean fuel vehicles; (2) creation of the “Bureau of Competition” at the FTC to address privacy and data privacy issues; and, (3) no general increase in the federal corporate tax rate, but a minimum 15% federal corporate tax for companies with over $100 million in “profits”.
House and Senate Committees Schedule Pandemic-Relative “Price Gouging” Hearings
Two congressional committees – Senate Commerce and House Energy and Commerce – have scheduled hearings on February 1st (Senate Hearing Notice) and 2nd (House Hearing Notice), respectively, to hear from the Federal Trade Commission regarding reports of “price gouging” by businesses during the COVID pandemic and the associated supply chain challenges. The House hearing is focused on specific legislation – H.R. 675 (Text) – introduced in the House in early 2021 by House Energy and Commerce Democratic Leaders Pallone (D-NJ) and Schakowsky (D-IL). ACRA will monitor both hearings and report on legislator statements or witness testimony of interest.
House Hearing on Automated Vehicles
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on February 2nd on automated vehicles. The hearing will explore the infrastructure, safety, workforce, and other impacts of the deployment of automated vehicles. The T&I Committee has jurisdiction in the House over vehicles larger than 10,000 pounds – so this hearing will focus on automated trucks more than light duty vehicles.
State Legislative Activity Highlights
State legislatures are back in session and busy at work. Based on reports from ACRA members, following are some of the state activities ACRA is tracking early in 2022:
- New Hampshire: ACRA sent a letter (N.H. Letter) to the Chairman of the New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee supporting HB 1430, which would exclude car rentals from the state’s meals and room tax.
- Hawaii: Discussions continue on tax issues regarding imposing property taxes on all cars – perhaps on a county-by-county (island-by-island) basis. ACRA counsel is collecting data from ACRA members on their Hawaiian operations to be aggregated and used for advocacy with the counties and the state legislature.
- New York: Has enacted a peer-to-peer car rental company law; a summary of the tax provisions is attached (NY P2P Summary).
- More New York: Vehicle Licensing Fee (VLF) expansion talks underway with leadership in state House and Senate.
- Massachusetts: Bill is up for discussion again regarding removing the sales tax exemption for rental vehicles. The bill is not moving but it is not dead.
ACRA Membership Activity
New Associate Member:
- Finalrentals, Gdanski, Poland
Renewed Associate Members:
- Element Fleet Management
- Geotab, Inc.
- Hull & Company/Mile High Markets
- Sonoran National Insurance Group
- Triad Insurance Management
- Viking Client Services
- W.S. Tierney & Company
- We Buy Key Fobs
Renewed Regular Operator Members:
- Aero Corporation Budget PA
- Avis Budget Car Rental Group
- Carco Carriage Corp. Hertz Licensee AR
- Dollar Rent A Car Seattle
- Enterprise Holdings, Inc., National, Alamo
- Hart Leasing d/b/a Avis IA
- Hertz Corporation
- Orlando Rent LLC, Advantage Rent A Car
- U-Save Corporation
- VTI Van Rentals
Mark Your Calendars! 2022 International Car Rental Show
The 2022 International Car Rental Show will be held April 24 – 26, 2022 at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mark your calendars! Registration is now open at www.internationalcarrentalshow.com/register/welcome-to-registration. And remember, ACRA members receive discounted registration rates for the ICRS – so if you are not yet a member of ACRA, go to www.acraorg.com today and join the only organization that represents the entire American car rental industry – large and small companies, operators and suppliers!
2022 ACRA D.C. Legislative Conference
ACRA’s Board of Directors has scheduled ACRA’s 2022 D.C. Legislative Conference for September 19 – 21, 2022. To register for the conference, please go to www.acraorg.com. The conference’s schedule and details will be firmed up later in 2022 as we see what, if any, surprises the COVID pandemic has in store for us and whether Capitol Hill re-opens to in-person meetings. But sign up early to be sure of reserving your place for this popular and successful ACRA D.C. meeting.
2022 ACRAPAC Plans
The ACRAPAC Committee met in late January to make plans for 2022. In addition to planning an “encore” performance at the International Car Rental Show in Vegas in April by ACRA President Sharky Laguana during an ACRAPAC “Contributors Only” Reception on the Tuesday evening of the show, the committee also wants to hold an ACRAPAC reception on Capitol Hill at the 2022 ACRA D.C. Legislative Conference in September. Details on both events will be distributed in the near future. For more information on ACRAPAC, please contact Sharon Faulkner (Acraorgsfaulkner@gmail.com) or Greg Scott (email@example.com).
Not a member of ACRA? We need you!
Join our effort and help make a difference!