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5/11/2009 3:45:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Bill Would Offer Federal Grants to Create Truck Parking Spaces

‘Jason’s Law’ Honors Driver Killed in Parked Rig

By Michele Fuetsch, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the May 11 print edition of Transport Topics.

A new legislative proposal would provide $20 million in each of the next six years for a pilot program designed to generate more truck parking spaces across the country.

The House bill would allow state and local governments, truck stops and even shippers to obtain federal grants to build parking spaces or install safety improvements, such as lighting and cameras, said Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), the bill’s sponsor.

Tonko said an implication of the federal hours-of-service regulations for commercial drivers is that it is necessary to make “accessible the parking areas that are essential for our nation’s truckers.”

He said his proposal would fund six years of safe parking investments that then would be evaluated to determine which work best. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate on May 5.

American Trucking Associations “supports this critical legislation and urges quick action in Congress,” ATA President Bill Graves said in a May 6 statement. “The parking shortage for commercial motor vehicles compromises the safety of drivers out on the road and requires a comprehensive solution involving all interested parties.”

A 2002 study by the Federal Highway Administration found 35 states had shortages of truck parking. Except for California, most of the states with shortages were in the Northeast and the Midwest.

The 2005 federal highway act that expires this year has a similar provision, offering $25 million to fund truck parking pilot programs, but last year, the Department of Transportation limited the use of those funds to routes in its Corridors of the Future program.

The new House bill has been dubbed “Jason’s Law” after Jason Rivenburg, a trucker from Fultonham, in rural Schoharie County, N.Y. He was shot to death in March after he pulled off Interstate 26 in South Carolina to spend the night at an abandoned gas station, the only parking available in the area.

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