Infrastructure bill includes funding opportunities for propane

August 12, 2021 By    

The U.S. Senate approved the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), a $1.2 trillion surface transportation reauthorization bill that will inject funding into the nation’s critical infrastructure. Several provisions recognize the economic and environmental benefits of propane and promote the use of the fuel across multiple sectors, according to the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA).

The bill provides NPGA members with access to new grant-funding programs for autogas refueling and vehicles, as well as propane-powered ferries. The package also includes a pilot program to address the nationwide driver shortage and other beneficial programs that are integral to the future of the propane industry, reports NPGA.

Highlights of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act include:

  • Grants for charging and fueling infrastructure: Access to $2.5 billion in grant funding for propane refueling infrastructure along the national highway system.
  • Clean school bus program: Access to $2.5 billion in grant funding for propane school buses.
  • Grants for buses and bus facilities: Access to $1.6 billion in grant funding for propane low-emission transit vehicles.
  • Apprenticeship pilot program: Based on the DRIVE-Safe Act, this pilot program seeks to address the nationwide driver shortage by permitting drivers ages 18-21 to participate in interstate commerce.

The bill also includes programs and funding to reduce emissions at port facilities; carbon reduction; workforce development, training and education; grid resilience and microgrids; low-emitting ferries; ferry service in rural communities; and building codes that are not prohibitive to the propane industry, reports NPGA.

At the beginning of this year, NPGA’s legislative affairs team planned and executed a strategy to ensure propane is well-represented in the infrastructure negotiations led by the Biden administration and a bipartisan group of Senators. This strategy included meetings with Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate.

NPGA says this legislative victory was not possible without the engagement of association members and the targeted disbursement of political contributions from PropanePAC.

While the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act received bipartisan support with a Senate vote of 69-30, the bill still faces political hurdles before President Joe Biden signs it into law, says NPGA. Despite a willingness by the president to approve the bill before the existing surface transportation authorization expires at the end of September, House Democratic leadership has expressed that the infrastructure package should be tied to support for the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill.

Reconciliation legislation would serve as a vehicle for additional Democratic priorities, including climate change and electrification. Immediately after approving the infrastructure package, the Senate also passed the budget resolution on a party-line vote, which is the first step for consideration of a reconciliation package later this year.

NPGA says it will continue to advocate for the inclusion of propane industry policy priorities in a reconciliation package in the coming months.

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