Top 8 CPG Wins in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
The passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a major step toward the infrastructure investments we have needed for years, if not decades. The CPG industry is responsible for one-fifth of all freight in the United States and depends heavily on reliable delivery of our essential goods. Not only does this legislation improve our roads, railways, bridges and ports, it also progresses key CPG priorities on which Consumer Brands has long pushed for action from lawmakers.
Here are CPG’s top eight wins in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:
- Fixing our broken recycling system: Consumer Brands has been a strong advocate for federal involvement in our recycling system and met with nearly all of the 26 members of the Senate Recycling Caucus to urge the inclusion of much-needed funding for recycling infrastructure. The legislation increases EPA grants under the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act to $275 million for municipalities to expand their recycling systems. Additionally, the bill authorizes EPA to establish $75 million for RECYCLE Act grants, which will help to educate consumers and improve residential and community recycling programs through public engagement.
- Expanding the transportation workforce through apprenticeship programs: The legislation authorizes a new apprenticeship to allow certified commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who are under 21 years old to operate in interstate commerce once they have completed the program. This is a key component of Consumer Brands’ Deliver America supply chain agenda and is something that we vocalized with lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee. The new program removes the single biggest barrier into the truck driving profession and equips young people with skills for much-needed jobs during an ongoing truck driver shortage.
- Maintaining the existing minimum liability coverage for motor carriers: This avoids a significant increase in transportation costs for the industry at a time when all other costs are increasing. Consumer Brands called on both parties to make this commonsense solution a priority of the infrastructure agreement.
- Requiring truck parking review. Truck parking is a critical but under-resourced component to an effective national freight system, providing a safe place for carriers to rest or wait before reaching their destination. In recent years, scarcity of truck parking across the road network has become a challenge compounding shipment delays and rising transportation costs. Consumer Brands highlighted this in its Deliver America supply chain platform and called for the Department of Transportation to conduct a thoughtful review and assessment of truck parking nationally, as well as assist states and municipalities in taking action to add parking where it’s most needed.
- Reestablishing the freight research program: It’s impossible to imagine a 21st century freight network without the necessary research and resources that Consumer Brands has advocated for to explore innovations in freight and how new technologies, business practices and policies might open the door to enhanced efficiency, lower environmental impact and enhanced quality of life. Reestablishing this National Academy of Sciences program is a key driver of encouraging academic coordination with the public and private sector to strengthen U.S. freight.
- Prioritizing updates to the national freight plan: The U.S. finally completed its national freight plan in 2020, but things changed quickly. The shifts in consumer habits and resulting supply chain stress tests as a result of the pandemic demonstrate why we need a regularly updated plan. This will make freight policy more responsive to consumers and will require federal officials to factor technological advances that alter freight systems, such as the growth of e-commerce, into long-range transportation plans. The legislation heeds Consumer Brands’ call to require further updates to the national strategy, done in tandem with a new office of multimodal freight within U.S. DOT, increases efficiency and policy coordination and ensures that investments are targeted and will support consumer needs.
- Expanding Rural Broadband Access: Investing in rural broadband enhances connectivity between producers, manufacturers and other supply chain stakeholders and enables the deployment of technology to enhance efficiency and access. As today’s consumers shop online more than ever, the CPG industry is innovating to meet their needs by disclosing product information online and working with retailers to provide enhanced shopping options. This legislation answers the call from Consumer Brands to ensure consumers can purchase essential CPG goods online or in stores, no matter where they live, and connects CPG manufacturers with suppliers across the country.
- Investing in clean energy infrastructure: In it’s Deliver America platform, Consumer Brands called on lawmakers to unite behind policies that anticipate where the world is going, not where the world is. We are encouraged by efforts to invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, providing a foundation for future automotive advances and enhanced transportation sustainability.
Published on November 5, 2021
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