Biden Plan Could Benefit Aftermarket, Says Association
But Price Tag Could Prove 'Difficult'
The Biden White House’s recently revealed American Jobs Plan will provide “much-needed investment” in infrastructure, says Aaron Lowe, senior vice president of regulatory and government affairs for the Auto Care Association. But obtaining the votes to pass the package will be difficult due to “its significant price tag.
“The American Jobs Plan is the administration’s proposal, but it will require Congress to take that proposal and turn it into legislation that can pass both chambers,” says Lowe. (Earlier this week, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed Republican opposition to the plan.)
The Auto Care Association hopes that "members from both parties can come together and pass a much needed investment in infrastructure that will create jobs and help our economy thrive in a post COVID-19 world.”
President Joe Biden’s nearly $2.3 trillion proposal earmarks $651 billion for transportation infrastructure. Approximately $115 billion of that amount would be set aside for fixing more than 20,000 miles of roads and highways, plus thousands of bridges.
The Highways Users Alliance, of which the Auto Care Association is a member, “has noted that there is a $786.4 billion backlog of highway and bridge investment,” according to Lowe.
The American Jobs Plan could benefit the automotive aftermarket in other ways, says Lowe. It earmarks $174 billion for investment in electric vehicles and electric vehicle infrastructure, including the establishment of 500,000 charging stations nationwide by 2030.
“We know that the Biden Administration also wants to ensure we have technicians that possess the skills necessary to repair and maintain electric vehicles and that is an objective we share.
“We want our independent repair shops nationwide to have the skills, training and access to the tools and information that they need to repair and maintain electric vehicles. A major factor in assuring that electric vehicles can be repaired properly will require electric vehicle manufacturers to partner with our industry and sharing critical repair information.
“Government also can play an important role by raising the nation’s awareness regarding the need for skilled vehicle technicians and the development of a skilled auto technician career path, both through public service announcements and the establishment of apprenticeship programs," says Lowe.
“There are provisions in the plan that propose significant investments in workforce development, including apprenticeship programs,” Lowe adds. “We are continuing to monitor those efforts closely to see if we can tap into those resources to recruit more workers to join the auto care industry.”