For CERTS funding, Treasury limited eligibility for the grants to the small number of industries specifically listed in the law and declined to use its discretion to expand eligibility to other industries such as car rental. - Photo via Flickr/Mark Fischer.

For CERTS funding, Treasury limited eligibility for the grants to the small number of industries specifically listed in the law and declined to use its discretion to expand eligibility to other industries such as car rental.

Photo via Flickr/Mark Fischer.

The American Car Rental Association provides the following updates on current issues of interest to U.s. car rental operators:

Federal COVID Relief Program Implementation

The Treasury Department has issued guidance on the implementation of the $2 billion in grants for transportation service providers (CERTS) from the COVID 4.0 law in December 2020. Treasury limited eligibility for the grants to the small number of industries specifically listed in the law and declined to use its discretion to expand eligibility to other industries such as car rental.

Congressional Focus

• Highway Bill/Infrastructure/Jobs/Social Safety Net Bill: President Biden has proposed two multi-trillion-dollar legislative initiatives — one focused on infrastructure (loosely defined) and the other on expanded the federal “safety net.” Both proposals face uphill battles in Congress, particularly in the Senate where some conservative Democrats have balked at the sheer size of the expenditures contained in the bill. ACRA has focused on support for electric vehicle infrastructure expansion to enable a sustainable mobility future that includes the car rental industry.

• On the tax front, the ACRA Board is focused on extending the 100% expensing for personal property (aka bonus depreciation), which is scheduled to begin to sunset in 2023, rather than on proposals to increase the federal corporate tax rate.

ACRA filed a statement at the hearing of the House Energy & Commerce Committee on May 5 supporting federal funding for EV charging infrastructure.

• International Tourism – ACRA filed a statement on May 18 at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on promoting the reopening of international tourism supporting prudent yet expeditious plans to remove pandemic-related restrictions on federal travel.

• Vehicle Technology – the American Alliance for Vehicle Owners’ Rights (AAVOR), of which ACRA is a leading member, filed a statement on May 18 at the House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on advanced vehicle technology that focused on urging Congress to address vehicle data access legislation that protects the rights of vehicle owners to control and access the data from the vehicles they own.

State Developments

Activities in most state legislatures are over for 2021. ACRA remains engaged in a number of issues across the country.

Hawaii has been particularly challenging for the industry this year. Proposals to limit the number of rental cars in each county of the state, as well as a fleet electrification mandate, died in the closing hours of that state’s legislative session. The issues could be raised again in 2022.

California is considering ACRA-supported legislation to remove that state’s cap on LDW charges. The bill has passed the California Assembly and is waiting for consideration by the California Senate. New York has enacted a new “Healthy Terminals” law which requires employers at New York airports to pay their covered employees the “prevailing wage,” including benefits, effective September 1, 2021.

New ACRA Members

Please welcome Auto Gallery Mall of Georgia, Buford, GA, as a new operator member and renewed operator members Mex Rent A Car, Otay Mesa, Calif. and Autoteam, Inc., South Amboy, N.J. Also welcome new associate (vendor) members Total Fleet Services, Windsor, Conn.

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