The House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, late on November 5 and the bipartisan legislation is now on its way to the White House, where President Biden has committed to signing it. This $1.2 trillion hard infrastructure bill, which reauthorizes surface transportation programs and provides $550 billion in new federal investments in America's infrastructure over the next five years, previously passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis. The bill is a historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure priorities, including highways, roads, bridges, clean water, high speed Internet, transit, passenger rail, and includes a number of provisions beneficial to the RV industry.
“While fixing our roads and bridges on and around our nation’s iconic parks, forests, and gateway communities is a good economic investment for our country generally, these investments will also go a long way to improve the RV consumer experience and increase access to the great outdoors for all Americans,” said RV Industry Association Director of Government Affairs Chris Bornemann. “This essential funding will also help deploy critical EV technologies and ensure that current and future RVers are able to travel on safe and adequate roads to access unparalleled outdoor experiences for generations to come.”
The RV Industry Associations Government Affairs Team has been working closely with Congress and the Administration to advance key RV industry priorities as part of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, such as:
- Securing over $7 billion in funding authorizations for key federal lands infrastructure programs aimed at improving the roads, bridges, tunnels, parking lots, access points, and other critical transportation-related infrastructure on and around our national parks, forests, and public lands that RVers rely on for safe and adequate outdoor recreation and camping experiences. This includes increased investments for the Federal Lands Transportation Program (25% increase), Federal Lands Access Program (14% increase), and Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Project Program (355% increase), as well as a new $2 billion grant program.
- Securing $100 million to restore recreation sites, including campgrounds, within the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service
- Advocating for increased investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, which resulted in an initial $7.5 billion investment to deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, propane fueling infrastructure, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along highway corridors to facilitate long-distance travel and within communities. Federal funding will have a particular focus on rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach areas where RVers frequently travel.
- Advocating for the creation of a $2 billion grant program to improve and expand surface transportation projects, including enhancing recreational and tourism opportunities by providing increased access to federal lands, national parks, national forests, national recreation areas, national wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, or state parks that RVers visit daily.
The bipartisan infrastructure legislation that passed the House and Senate is one part of an ambitious three-part Build Back Better agenda proposed by President Biden. Congress already passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package in March. The bipartisan $1.2 trillion “traditional infrastructure” bill is the second piece of President Biden’s economic agenda. A separate $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill with White House social spending priorities passed a procedural rules vote on November 5, but final House passage may still be weeks away. Additionally, it likely faces opposition and amendments in the Senate as Senator Manchin recently indicated his disappointment in the reconciliation legislation and process.
The Government Affairs team worked closely with Congress to ensure that the federal investment in traditional and outdoor recreation infrastructure reflected the importance of the $114 billion RV industry to the American economy. We are very pleased that the bipartisan infrastructure legislation funds the RV Industry Association’s priority transportation programs at historic levels, and at the same time makes critical investments in rural broadband, supply chain resiliency, and electric vehicle infrastructure.
The RV Industry Association’s Government Affairs Team is committed to educating policy makers on the importance of rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Along with the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable we will continue to support a new bipartisan outdoor recreation package and other initiatives leading to a vibrant outdoor recreation and transportation future.