Truck Parking Ranks High on ATRI’s 2023 List
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AUSTIN, Texas — When the American Transportation Research Institute, an authority on trucking analyses, recently unveiled its annual list of key industry matters, truck parking ranked second behind the economy.
Professional drivers’ parking insecurity, a long-standing concern across the freight sector, remains an unresolved challenge, the research firm determined in its Top Industry Issues list. The annual report was unveiled last week at American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition.
To enhance access to parking, ATRI suggested advocating for a dedicated federal funding program designed to increase capacity at freight-centric locations as well as a reduction of “regulatory burdens limiting the construction and expansion of truck parking facilities.” Additionally, ATRI proposed further researching the link between parking availability and highway safety.
“Fatal crashes this year in Texas and Illinois have once again underscored the dangerous situation truck and car drivers face when truck drivers are forced to park on the side of the road when no available safe parking is available. Research to quantify this safety relationship is the preferred strategy of 14.9% of respondents,” according to the research organization.
Establishing a dedicated long-term source of funding for truck parking operations nationwide might prove difficult on Capitol Hill. For instance, repeated congressional bailouts have reduced the Eisenhower-era Highway Trust Fund to a hobble. That fund is backed by insufficient revenue from the federal fuel tax.
As Jeff Davis, senior fellow at the Eno Center for Transportation, recently put it, “From a truth-in-budgeting perspective, the choice seems clear: It’s time to either mend, or end, the Highway Trust Fund. Either cut spending and/or increase user revenues to the point that they meet once again, or abolish the trust fund, devote the five existing user taxes back to the general fund, and have highway, mass transit, and highway and motor carrier safety funding fight it out with all other programs through the budget process.”
On Capitol Hill, transportation policymakers continue to propose comprehensive legislation to expand truck parking availability. Legislation awaiting a vote in the House would expand parking facilities for truck drivers. The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which was advanced by the chamber’s transportation policy panel by voice vote, would authorize $755 million through fiscal 2026 to expand parking access for commercial vehicles.
As part of the bipartisan bill, state agencies would be tasked with adding parking to existing facilities and assisting with the construction of new facilities.
“Truck drivers do the hard work to keep our supply chains moving, and it’s our responsibility to protect their safety and well-being,” said
Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.), the measure’s co-sponsor. Companion legislation in the senate has yet to be considered in committee.
Responding to industry’s call to action, the Biden administration has carved out funds for parking programs. On Sept. 13, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced more than $80 million in grants is available for highway programs, such as parking projects. Agencies in Louisiana, Florida and Tennessee recently were awarded grants to expand truck parking facilities. Those funds primary were the result of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was enacted in 2021. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration head Robin Hutcheson touted the investments.
“President [Joe] Biden’s historic investment through the bipartisan infrastructure law helps improve commercial motor vehicle safety on our roadways both at the national and local levels.”
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
Oct. 24, 10 a.m.: Senate Communications, Media and Broadband Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “Protecting Americans From Robocalls.” Witnesses include Margot Saunders, senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center; Megan Brown, partner at Wiley Rein LLP, U.S. Chamber of Commerce representative; Josh Bercu, executive director off the Industry Traceback Group, vice president of policy and advocacy for USTelecom.
Oct. 26, 10 a.m.: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets for a hearing titled, “Evaluating Material Alternatives for Single-Use Plastics.” Witnesses include Marcus Eriksen, co-founder and executive director of The 5 Gyres Institute, Leap Lab; Erin Simon, vice president of plastic waste + business at the World Wildlife Fund.
“Mr. Whitaker is highly qualified with more than 30 years of aviation experience in both the public and private sectors,” committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said before the vote. “His nomination has attracted bipartisan support and broad agreement within the aviation community. I appreciate Mr. Whitaker’s commitment to independent leadership, recruiting new talent and building a strong safety culture at the FAA. The FAA has been without a Senate-confirmed administrator since March 31, 2022.”
On Oct. 17, at MCE 2023, Andrew Boyle, co-president of Boyle Transportation in Billerica, Mass., was elected the federation’s 79th chairman by its board of directors.
“It is a tremendous privilege to be chosen by my peers in the trucking industry to be ATA chairman,” Boyle said. “Being selected to serve the millions of hardworking men and women who make up this great industry is an incredible honor, and I’m excited to take on this challenge.”
Boyle succeeded Dan Van Alstine, president and chief operating officer of Ruan Transportation Management Systems.
“I’m confident that ATA is in great hands with my friend Andrew,” the former chairman affirmed. “I want to wish him good luck on what will surely be an exciting journey as ATA chairman. I also want to thank the ATA staff and my fellow members for their support this past year — they have made my term as chairman a truly special one.”
A message from the White House.
The Last Word
The strength of our federation is built upon the foundation of our state associations.
ATA President and CEO Chris Spear on Oct. 15Image