Congressional Policymakers Introduce Truck Parking Bill

Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act Gets Bipartisan Push
parked trucks
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Legislation designed to expand access to parking for truck drivers around the country was recently introduced on Capitol Hill.

Transportation policymakers from the House and Senate are pushing for consideration of legislation designed to tackle the long-standing industry concern.

The bipartisan Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, sponsored by Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.), would approve funding to assist agencies with expanding parking capacity for women and men operating trucks. The bill also would support requisite improvements to existing parking areas for commercial vehicles. Overall, it would authorize $755 million in competitive grants over the next few years.

“I understand how difficult, and oftentimes dangerous, it can be when America’s truckers are forced to push that extra mile in search of a safe place to park,” Bost said in a statement accompanying the bill’s introduction on March 29. “By expanding access to parking options for truckers, we are making our roads safer for all commuters and ensuring that goods and supplies are shipped to market in the most efficient way possible. This is a matter of public safety, and I’m committed to do all I can to drive this legislation over the finish line.”

“Our truck drivers play a critical role in keeping our supply chains moving and intact — and it’s our responsibility to make sure they are able to do so safely and efficiently,” added Craig.

Leading the legislative effort on the other side of the Capitol are Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.). Co-sponsors include Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.).

Lummis observed: “People in Wyoming are still feeling the impacts of the supply chain crisis, and unreliable truck parking is another contributing factor to that. Fixing the parking problem will help ease this burden on consumers.”

“The shortage of available and reliable parking for truck drivers puts a strain on truckers, Arizona businesses and our nation’s supply chain. Our bipartisan legislation will ensure that truck drivers can safely and efficiently move the goods that support our economy,” Kelly added.

Boozman, a member of the transportation appropriations subcommittee, recently argued during a hearing that a competitive grant program for truck parking projects would equip the U.S. Department of Transportation and agencies statewide with myriad resources.

“I’m really interested in the Department of Transportation’s long-term plan to build our truck parking capacity. We’ve heard repeatedly from representatives of the trucking industry the nationwide shortage of truck parking capacity is a key driver of supply chain inefficiency,” Boozman said.

The bill has been referred to committees of jurisdiction. During the previous session of Congress, the legislators sought approval of a version of their truck parking bill. At that time, House and Senate leaders did not schedule votes on the measure that would have advanced it to the president’s desk for enactment.

Stakeholders supportive of the bill include American Trucking Associations.

“The lack of safe and accessible truck parking places an enormous and costly burden on our nation’s truck drivers as they work to deliver for the American people. Given the chronic nature of this issue and its national scope, it is imperative Congress takes action to provide dedicated funding to expand commercial truck parking capacity,” ATA President Chris Spear said shortly after the bill’s introduction. “We thank Sens. Lummis and Kelly and Reps. Bost and Craig for their leadership on this vital piece of legislation, which will strengthen our supply chain and improve highway safety for all motorists.”

Natso CEO Lisa Mullings said Bost, Craig Kelly and Lummis have "worked diligently to advance opportunities to expand the number of commercial truck parking spaces for America’s truck drivers.” She added, “Truck stops and travel centers are committed to serving professional drivers, including providing safe places to stop and rest, as they deliver America’s economy and keep the supply chain moving. Allowing grant recipients to harness the collective expertise that private travel centers can provide affords an opportunity to maximize federal funds and increase truck parking capacity along those freight corridors where it may be needed.”

“Most folks probably don’t realize that 70% of American freight is transported by truck, yet incredibly there is only one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road,” Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, indicated.

Earlier this year, a group of House lawmakers introduced legislation taking aim at truck parking concerns. The Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act would approve nearly $800 million through fiscal 2026 for such parking projects. “It is the sense of Congress that it should be a national priority to address the shortage of parking for commercial motor vehicles on the federal-aid highway system to improve highway safety,” according to the text of the bill, sponsored by Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.).

At a recent Senate budget hearing, Secretary Pete Buttigieg reaffirmed the Department of Transportation’s commitment to working with agencies to expand parking facilities.

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“I completely agree with the importance of this issue,” the secretary told senators during a budget review on the White House’s fiscal 2024 request. “When you talk with truck drivers it’s one of the first things that they’ll raise. And it’s not just a matter of convenience. It’s really a matter of safety.”

In 2022, the American Transportation Research Institute classified inadequate access to parking as third on its “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry.”