Remember the FAST Act? Now SEMA is suing NHTSA to implement the replica car law10/18/2019
Remember that law Congress passed that would allow small manufacturers to make replica cars? The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was passed into law way back in 2015. Under the law, NHTSA had until December 2016 to write rules so boutique carmakers could start cranking out cool cars. But NHTSA hasn’t done that yet. So SEMA is suing NHTSA.
“SEMA warned NHTSA in 2018 that it would file suit if companies could not begin production of turnkey cars as authorized by the FAST Act,” said SEMA president and CEO Christopher J. Kersting. “SEMA has made every effort to work collaboratively with NHTSA for over three and a half years, although the agency has taken no action to implement the replica car law. Consequently, companies have not hired workers, businesses have lost money and consumers have been denied their rights to purchase replica cars.”
SEMA said that vehicles produced under the FAST Act will be current model year clean cars. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board have developed guidelines and regulations to confirm that the engine packages to be installed will meet current emissions standards.
“The replica car provision was designed to be easy for NHTSA to implement, as it is an extension of the common-sense approach to overseeing kit car production that the agency has employed for decades,” SEMA said in a statement. “While the FAST Act requires NHTSA to ‘issue such regulations as may be necessary’ to implement the law, the agency also has other options such as issuing a guidance document that will allow production to begin immediately. SEMA has asked the court to compel NHTSA to take such action.”
NHTSA has not yet responded to a request for comment. We’ll add it here as soon as it comes in.
This is from the “Introduction” section of the lawsuit:
“For decades, consumers and replica car companies have been asking for removal of regulatory barriers preventing small-volume vehicle manufacturers from producing and selling replica cars. Congress finally got involved and passed … the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (“FAST”) Act … This was a landmark moment—the long-sought regulatory relief made it possible for consumers to purchase, and low-volume manufacturers to produce, replica vehicles. However, consumers and replica car manufacturers faced yet another roadblock. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has done nothing since passage almost four years ago, ignoring the FAST Act’s statutory implementation deadline. Instead of regulatory relief, these manufacturers and consumers are faced with regulatory injury, having waited almost twice as long as Congress intended the entire implementation to take. SEMA filed the lawsuit against NHTSA on Tuesday, ‘for failure to issue regulations necessary to implement the 2015 FAST Act allowing production of replica cars.’”
We will keep you up to date on NHTSA’s response to the lawsuit. The cool car community waits on the edge of its tuck-and-rolled seat.
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