Some members of Congress, it seems, must have some severe muscle pain by now, after patting themselves on the back so much recently to celebrate the passing of the landmark infrastructure bill.
The roughly $1 trillion bipartisan package, passed by a vote of 69-30, includes $110 billion in funding for roads, bridges and "major projects" and another $11 billion for road safety.
The White House said the money would go toward rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects, focusing on "climate change mitigation, resilience, equity and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians."
All of that push toward a future of electric vehicles — by auto makers and tire makers alike — will get another significant shove, thanks to a key part of the bill. Around $7.5 billion is earmarked for building charging stations for EVs, focusing on "rural, disadvantaged and hard-to-reach communities," according to the White House.
Another $2.5 billion each goes toward zero-emission buses, low-emission buses and ferries.
"The deal will deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide, including in rural communities, helping school districts across the country buy clean, American-made, zero-emission buses, and replace the yellow school bus fleet for America's children," the White House said.
Those buses will need tires, of course.
That is not only good news for the tire industry, but also great news for commercial tire dealerships, especially those that supply products for the construction industry, which figures to get even busier once the repair work begins nationally.
The bill, however, is far from becoming law.
How far? Well, there's a chance members of Congress might by passing out Halloween candy at the same time they are trying to get a final version of the bill on President Biden's desk for his signature.
As of mid-August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will not bring the bill to the floor of the House of Representatives until a broader $3.5 trillion spending package that addresses other areas also has passed the Senate.
Progressive House Democrats say they won't consider the package until the broader bill — which appears to have tenuous support among Senate Democrats — gets through the Senate.
That doesn't even address the debt ceiling, which needs to be expanded by Oct. 1 to avoid government default.
And you thought finding that particular light-truck tire for that one customer was difficult.
The time is now for Congress to get off its collective asphalt and get this bill passed.
Is this bill perfect? Of course not. Will it add to the debt? Definitely. Both political parties have been particularly adept at that over the last decade.
Several organizations that represents the transportation industry have lauded the infrastructure bill and urged its final passage.
American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear thanked all the senators who voted for the bill, calling it "a groundbreaking step toward revitalizing America's decaying roads and bridges, supporting our supply chain and economy with the foundation they need to grow, compete globally and lead the world."
He said the bill "contains significant measures to grow and strengthen trucking's essential workforce."
USW International President Tom Conway said the nation's infrastructure "is long past due for significant upgrades," and called the bill "an important step toward both making our communities more secure and creating millions of good, family-sustaining jobs."
Anne Forristall Luke, president and CEO of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, perhaps said it best in a statement: "Congress cannot let this opportunity pass to make a generational investment in our nation's infrastructure."
Ms. Luke urged members of Congress to base their votes on "the economic, societal and environmental merits" of the bill.
"It is my hope — and that of all members of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association — that the House swiftly passes this package," she concluded.
We agree wholeheartedly.