More than 100 stakeholders press Senate for action on driverless car bill

More than 100 stakeholders press Senate for action on driverless car bill
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More than 100 companies on Monday pressed the Senate to pass its driverless car legislation before Memorial Day, as the bill remains stalled in the upper chamber.

The group of stakeholders, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFlorida Democrat hits administration over small business loan rollout The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Schumer says nation will 'definitely' need new coronavirus relief bill MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer names coronavirus czar candidates in plea to White House Democrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Schumer: Fired inspector general will be remembered as a 'hero' MORE (D-N.Y.), urged the lawmakers to expedite the American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act.

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“While there are a number of compelling reasons to expedite Senate floor consideration of the AV START Act, the most important factor is the potential lives that could be saved,” the letter reads.

Companies that signed the letter include various automobile manufacturers, such as Volkswagen Group of America, Tesla, Toyota, Nissan North America, General Motors and Ford Motor Company. The ride-share applications Lyft and Via are also signatories.

“[W]e believe this legislation will garner overwhelming bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate. With your help, the Senate and House legislative proposals can be reconciled to enable a final bill to be presented to the President for his signature later this year,” the companies write.

The legislation, which would speed up the development and testing of autonomous vehicles, unanimously passed through the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee last year, but has since been stuck in the Senate. The House last year passed a companion bill. 

The letter calls on McConnell and Schumer to work with Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump's magical thinking won't stop the coronavirus pandemic Lawmakers brace for more coronavirus legislation after trillion bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill MORE (R-S.D.), ranking member Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonLobbying world The most expensive congressional races of the last decade Lobbying world MORE (D-Fla.) and Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersUnprecedented health crisis called for historic expansion of unemployment insurance Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner Poll: Biden has small lead over Trump in Michigan MORE (D-Mich.) to move the legislation for a floor vote. 

Thune in January touted the bill at the Washington Auto Show, but acknowledged lawmakers still had differences to work through. 

“We have a couple of objections that we have to try to and deal with, but over the last year we have worked with 200 stakeholders who are affected by [autonomous vehicles],” Thune said at the time.