Update on the Truck Parking Bill
A major concern for truckers is time that's being wasted as they forage for a spot to rest their truck, trailer, and self. Load One CEO and immediate past chairman of TCA (Truckload Carriers Association), John Elliott, has been an integral voice speaking on behalf of the beleaguered trucker. John says, "you look at driver satisfaction and safety, the average driver wastes about an hour just looking for a parking spot." He adds, "you could be the CEO of a company making big money, and if every day you drove around the parking lot for an hour looking for a parking spot, your satisfaction level with that job and with that industry will be dramatically affected."
That was in December of 2022, when new truck parking legislation was introduced to the U.S. Senate. It now appears we have an update since that legislation has graduated and taken another step forward, recently making its way to the House of Representatives.
Update on Truck Parking Legislation
Legislation meant to improve parking access for commercial truck drivers nationwide was introduced and passed in the U.S. Senate. Now, The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has announced its strong support for the bipartisan measure.
In December, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, sponsored by Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), was brought to the floor in hopes that the Senate would approve funding to increase parking capacity as well as enhance parking areas for the commercial driving community.
At the time, Senator Lummis stated that, "Wyoming is home to three major interstates that carry thousands of tons of cargo a day. Without safe truck parking, truckers spend an unnecessary amount of time searching for a place to park, putting truckers and Wyoming drivers at greater risk for accidents. This is easily solvable, and I am thankful to Sen. Kelly for joining me in finding a commonsense solution."
Senator Kelly also added, "A lack of accessible and reliable truck parking makes our roads less safe. Our bipartisan legislation will expand freight truck parking to ensure that truck drivers can safely and efficiently move the goods that support our nation's economy and supply chains."
Both senators hold posts on the highway policymaking committee, and the bill's consideration is finally moving forward.
Last summer, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a similar bill. Sponsored by Representatives Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.), the legislation would provide transportation agencies funding for building or expanding parking areas for commercial vehicles. Freight stakeholders, who backed the House bill, also endorsed the Senate version.
So, What's the Latest?
Under the proposed measure, grants for commercial truck parking projects would be awarded on a competitive basis and applicants would be required to submit detailed proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The primary focus would be to construct new truck parking facilities and convert existing weigh stations and rest areas into functional parking spaces for truck drivers.
The legislation sets aside a total of $755 million for truck parking projects, with DOT allocating $175 million for fiscal year 2024, $260 million for fiscal year 2025, and $320 million for fiscal year 2026.