Washington, D.C.—Alongside its tragic human cost, COVID-19 has illuminated the vulnerabilities of our economy, with more than 30 million Americans losing their jobs in just six weeks. To catalyze the country’s recovery and strengthen the U.S. economy, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is releasing Get America Moving Again (GAMA), a detailed plan focused on the transportation and energy sectors to stimulate the economy and lay the foundation for sustained growth.
GAMA emphasizes the need to enhance American economic competitiveness and security by focusing on critical supply chains in transportation and energy that will position the United States to maintain its industrial leadership—and removing the threat of other nations leveraging their supply chains over our economic and national security future. The proposal contains detailed policies to enhance job creation and create economic growth opportunities, ensure people can travel to work again safely and affordably, bolster the reliability and resilience of our energy and transportation sectors, and strengthen U.S. national security by decoupling from a volatile oil market and investing in domestic supply chains.
“America is defined by the free movement of people and goods. Not only will Americans expect our transportation systems to be fully up to speed the moment this crisis passes, but we must invest in industries and supply chains to remain a global leader in connected, autonomous, shared and electric transportation technologies and businesses. This is about jobs now, jobs in the future, and the U.S. maintaining its industrial leadership and advanced manufacturing base with smart tax credits and loans, federal funding and investment, and regulatory certainty,” said Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of SAFE.
SAFE has created this 15-point plan to help jump-start the energy and transportation sectors and see them through four critical stages to Get America Moving Again: rescue, recovery, stimulus, and preparation. The suite of concrete, actionable policy recommendations include:
- Providing immediate federal funding to state and local agencies to sustain surface transportation infrastructure projects and offset transportation revenue losses, while also supporting improvements to active transportation infrastructure during the crisis.
- Passing critical federal autonomous vehicle regulations to provide a pathway to contactless delivery and transportation—stimulating American R&D and ensuring U.S. leadership.
- Accelerating transportation’s electrification and ensuring the technology and supply chains are in the U.S. by reforming tax credits for vehicles of all classes and for a nationwide infrastructure.
- Stimulating the auto industry with a trade-in incentive, including a bonus incentive for the alternative fueled vehicles that represent the future of the industry.
- Promoting a U.S.-based supply chain for rare earth elements by chartering a cooperative seeded with $500 million in capital as 100 percent of all rare earths are currently processed in China.
- Stimulating investments in U.S. manufacturing capacity and creating jobs in building next generation transportation technologies through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.
- Ensuring the continued survival and growth of emerging transportation options by providing CARES Act flexibility to support micromobility and TNCs, which can provide less-crowded commuting alternatives.
- Enhancing grid resilience and reliability through expediting greater deployment of grid modernization technologies, including smart meters/advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), energy storage, microgrids, and electric transmission and advanced transmission technologies.
“The national security implications of the coronavirus do not simply end once this crisis passes; any disruption in our efforts to advance new transportation technologies risks the United States losing ground to other countries. We do not want to reduce our current reliance on an unstable oil market for our transportation fuels, only for it to be replaced with a dependence on China for our future transportation needs,” said Admiral Dennis Blair, the former Director of National Intelligence and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command and ESLC member.
“In addition to its tragic human cost, this pandemic has highlighted the fragility of our nation’s supply chains. If the United States wishes to be a global leader in our technology-driven future, it is vital we have robust and secure supply chains for every aspect of the modern economy, including transportation, energy, autonomy, and the transformative capacity of 5G,” said Adam Goldstein, the former Vice Chair of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., and an ESLC member.
“Now is the opportunity to emerge from this crisis with a better, stronger and more efficient transportation system. Public transportation has been largely reduced or, even shut down, and we can redesign these systems—eliminating unproductive routes, replacing diesel buses with electric buses and expanding micromobility lanes. By significantly improving the user experience, and by providing portal to portal services with integrated planning and payment solutions, and signal prioritization, we can accomplish our goals of making our cities more efficient and reducing our dependence on oil,” said Mark Joseph, CEO of Mobitas Solutions and an ESLC member.
The stimulus provides a crucial opportunity to reduce our overwhelming dependence on oil in transportation—which, as proven by its dramatic fall in price, is a highly volatile commodity upon which to power the world’s largest economy—by transitioning our nation’s vehicle fleet to American fuels unconnected to a global market. It also enables the U.S. to advance its transportation and energy systems into the 21st century by putting in place a targeted plan focused on jobs and technologies that will define the coming decades.
About Securing America’s Future Energy
Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles.