Washington — Michigan’s U.S. senators are reviving a push to advance legislation aimed at boosting advanced technology vehicles.
U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, along with U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said Thursday they are reintroducing the measure, which has been dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, “to encourage investments in research and development of clean vehicle and advanced safety technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”
Legislation similar to the current bill, which includes $313.6 million in funding for the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office for the 2018 fiscal year and a 4 percent annual increase after that until 2022, was included in an “Energy Policy Modernization Act” that was approved in different forms by the U.S. House and Senate in 2016. The chambers were unable to resolve their differences on the legislation before the end of the previous Congress, however.
The legislation’s backers said the vehicle innovation act is worth reviving because it “strengthens and streamlines” the Vehicle Technologies Office, which promotes public-private partnerships to conduct research and development on technologies to improve fuel efficiency.
“The bill will support domestic research and development, grow our advanced manufacturing industry in the United States, and reduce our dependence on imported oil,” the senators’ offices said.
Peters and Stabenow said the vehicle innovation legislation is particular important to Michigan’s car-dependent economy.
“Michigan and the United States are leading the way in developing innovative technologies that will make the next generation of cars and trucks safer and more efficient than ever before,” Peters said in a statement. “This bipartisan bill will help ensure that American manufacturers remain internationally competitive by encouraging the development of cutting-edge clean vehicle technologies that improve fuel efficiency, save consumers money and help support American jobs.”
“Michigan manufacturers are some of the best in the world,” Stabenow added, also in a written statement. “This bill will help our manufacturers innovate and develop new products, which will create jobs and give consumers more choices.”
The lawmakers noted the vehicle innovation legislation is supported by the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, the Auto Alliance, UAW, the BlueGreen Alliance, and NTEA — the Association for the Work Truck Industry.