By: The truckers report
July 21, 2022
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a measure to spend $755 million on safe truck parking over the next four years.
“This is long overdue. It’s one solution to try to make the lives of drivers safer and less stressful and perhaps allow for more retention. This will really help improve the efficiency of trucking,” committee chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio reportedly said. “It may be something that goes into the year-end omnibus. I hope we can pass it out of the House unanimously when we come back after the August break.”
Members of Congress had initially agreed to fund safe parking as part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending package, following talks with trucking advocacy organizations such as the America Trucking Associations (ATA).
“The availability of safe and secure truck parking is not just a challenge for current drivers, it is a barrier our industry must overcome in attracting new drivers — particularly women,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear reportedly said. “Solving it won’t just help today’s industry. It will go a long way toward helping trucking recruit and attract a more diverse workforce.”
Unfortunately, funding was stripped as the measure was negotiated between the U.S. House and Senate. Department of Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg possessed wide-reaching discretionary funds to invest in truck parking infrastructure. Studies point out that there is one truck space available for every 11 rigs operating each day. However, the Biden Administration appointee invested no discretionary money despite going on the record indicating he is aware of the problem.
The American Transportation Research Institute reported that 80 percent of truckers spend upwards of 30 minutes trying to secure a legitimate parking space. Too many are forced to stay overnight in risky areas as the search for reasonable parking eats into their hours of service limits. The recent movement by the House committee could be the first step to resolving a workplace issue that has plagued truckers for decades.
The bill, which easily passed on a voice vote, was introduced by Illinois Rep. Mike Bost and Minnesota Rep. Angie Craig back in March 2021. Other lawmakers put forward amendments in an effort to get the funds into the Infrastructure spending package. A spokesperson for Bost indicated the bill could now be fast-tracked to the House floor because it enjoys bipartisan support and is backed by trucking industry organizations as well as safety groups.
“Our nation’s truckers have worked around the clock over the past few years to keep store shelves stocked during a pandemic and supply chain crisis,” Rep. Bost reportedly stated. “But in order to do their jobs, they must have somewhere safe to park. It is critical that we get this legislation passed as soon as possible so that we can address this issue and keep our roads safe for all drivers.”