House of Representatives Passes a New Six Year Highway Bill
Following three days of debate, during which over 100 amendments were considered, the U.S. House of Representatives this week passed with a vote of 363–64 its version of a new six year highway bill, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (STRR Act). The House is now scheduled to go to a Conference with the Senate. The Senate had already passed its version of a six year highway bill on July 30 by a vote of 65–34.
During the floor debate several NGV related amendments were voted on and included in the final version of the bill. Included was an amendment from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) which clarifies that NGVs are eligible for funding under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement program (CMAQ) when a state opts to initiate actions to mitigate their PM 2.5 non-attainment concerns using CMAQ funding. An amendment by Rep. Mullin (R-OK-02), which requires the EPA to ensure that in promulgating regulations any preference or incentive provided to an electric vehicle is also provided to natural gas vehicles, was also included. Neither of these provisions were included in the Senate bill. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA-12) offered and withdrew an amendment to provide heavy-duty natural gas trucks a 2,000 lbs. weight allowance to operate on federal highways. This provision is already included in the Senate bill.
NGVAmerica will be meeting with key committee staff this week to learn more about their plans for the conference and the likely amendments that will go forward. More detailed information on the bill can be found on the House Transportation Committee’s website.