On July 20, the House Transportation and Infrastructure approved a bill to increase parking for commercial motor vehicles.
The bill aims to “provide parking for commercial motor vehicles and improve the safety of commercial motor vehicle operators.”
Sponsored by Mike Bost (R-Ill.), the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act would build and expand safe parking areas for commercial vehicles.
“I’ve championed the need for expanded truck parking for a long time because it impacts the safety of everyone on the road,” Bost said in a statement to Transport Topics, “this bill will help make our roads and interstates safer by ensuring that truckers no longer have to risk pushing themselves too far to make it a few extra miles to the next rest stop.”
What would the bill do?
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act would provide agencies with $800 million through fiscal 2026.
The bill states that in addition to the funds from the Highway Trust Fund, the following will also be provided;
- $125 million for 2022
- $140 million for 2023
- $150 million for 2024
- $165 million for 2025
- $175 million for 2026
Another aspect of this bill is that the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, would be tasked with prioritizing agencies that show a shortage of commercial vehicle parking capacity in the corridor of their project.
This bill comes just in time for the Interstate 81 Corridor Coalition, a group consisting of representatives of federal, state, and local government employees which I-81 passes. Which are requesting additional federal funding to improve the parking along the corridor.
“It’s been said many times that if you bought it, a truck driver brought it,” said Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), the committee’s ranking member.
Graves goes on to say, “more than 70% of the freight tonnage in this country is moved by trucks and American truckers, which is critical to our nation’s multimodal and interconnected supply chain. Unfortunately, it’s been pointed out, a major challenge affecting truck drivers’ ability to keep the supply chain moving is a lack of safe and accessible truck parking.”
Is this a problem that needs addressing?
Lack of truck parking concerns ranked fifth on the American Transportation Research Institute’s “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry” from 2021. While the problem has been made clear, House Democratic leaders have yet to schedule a floor vote.
Another group that has endorsed the bill is the American Trucking Association.
“The lack of safe and accessible truck parking is an issue that causes serious concern for our industry,” ATA President Chris Spear said. “Without it, drivers waste hours looking for secure places to park for an hour or for the night, hurting their ability to rest and adding undo stress to their days. Moving this legislation forward is a tremendous step toward addressing what has been a significant challenge to our industry’s ability to safely and efficiently move the nation’s goods.”
Trucker safety has always been a key issue in this industry, but it is clear with bills like this that the problem is being addressed and key officials are working to maintain safe parking and accessibility.
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