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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told senators the U.S. Department of Transportation is addressing the need for increasing access to parking for truck drivers.
The longstanding industry concern was raised during a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee with the secretary on March 2.
“This is a very important issue and as you talk with any truck driver, it is not only an issue of convenience, it is an issue of safety,” Buttigieg told Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), who pressed the secretary about truck parking. “And I might add, as you pointed out, with the idling that goes on, it’s even an issue of emissions.”
A big shoutout to @SenLummis for raising the issue of #truckparking during yesterday's @epwcmte @EPWGOP hearing on #infrastructure, and thank you to @SecretaryPete for working with stakeholders to prioritize this urgent need. pic.twitter.com/1j7f8OOukp— American Trucking (@TRUCKINGdotORG) March 3, 2022
Buttigieg pointed to DOT programs that would ideally help tackle the issue. They were the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, National Highway Freight Program, the Highway Safety Improvement Program, the National Highway Performance Program and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.
Additionally, the recently enacted $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act dedicates funds to enhance freight connectivity and alleviate supply chain bottlenecks.
“I share your enthusiasm for addressing this,” the secretary told the senator. “I’d welcome an opportunity to work with you to make sure that the funding and the authorities available in the law are actually being used to alleviate that problem.”
Responding to the secretary, Lummis said: “I would be delighted to work with you on that. It’s a big issue in my state, especially on Interstate 80, which crosses the entirety of southern Wyoming.”
The senator is among the policymakers pressing for provisions that would boost parking funds for the country’s commercial drivers.
A recent DOT assessment of U.S. supply chain bottlenecks recommended supporting state DOTs and the private sector to develop and implement strategies designed for expanding truck parking availability.
American Trucking Associations highlighted the department’s attention to the parking shortage. “The report acknowledges what ATA and truck drivers have been saying for years: The lack of safe truck parking negatively impacts our tangled supply chain, and more importantly, it makes an already difficult job far more challenging,” ATA President Chris Spear said.
“The scarcity of truck parking spaces across the country decreases safety for all highway users, exacerbates the industry’s longstanding workforce challenges, contributes negatively to driver health and well-being, diminishes trucking productivity, and results in unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions,” Spear added. “We welcome President [Joe] Biden’s and Secretary Buttigieg’s support for expanding truck parking capacity throughout the supply chain. We hope that DOT will use the historic increase in grant money in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to invest in projects that address this critical, growing and long-neglected obstacle to the safe and efficient delivery of the 72% of domestic freight that is moved by truck drivers.”
Truck parking ranked fifth on a 2021 report titled, “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry,” assembled by the American Transportation Research Institute.
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