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July 20, 2022 3:27 PM, EDT

House Committee Approves Truck Parking Bill

truck parkingA line of trucks is parked at a Love's Truck Stop on I-65 near Bowling Green, Ky. (TT File Photo)

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Legislation designed to increase parking access for truck drivers nationwide was easily approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure panel on July 20.

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, would dedicate funding for transportation agencies to build or expand safe parking areas for commercial motor 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. The congressman is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “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.”

Bost, emphasizing the measure is designed to increase capacity for new parking, added, “I’m glad that we will be marking up my bill this week in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and hope that we can advance it to the House floor for a vote quickly.”

Bost

Bost

Specifically, the bill would incrementally provide agencies nearly $800 million through fiscal 2026. According to the bill, its purpose is to “provide parking for commercial motor vehicles and improve the safety of commercial motor vehicle operators.”

Additionally, as part of the bill the secretary of transportation would be tasked with prioritizing agencies that “demonstrate a shortage of commercial motor vehicle parking capacity in the corridor in which the project is located.”

The committee’s debate on the bill included endorsements from the panel’s leaders.

“It’s one solution to try and make the lives of drivers safer, less stressful and perhaps allow for more retention,” Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) observed. “This is long overdue.”

“It’s been said many times that if you bought it, a truck driver brought it,” affirmed Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), the transportation committee’s ranking member. “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.”

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.)

Graves

House Democratic leaders have yet to schedule a floor vote for the measure. Senators have not recently considered their legislative version. Previous efforts to expand parking facilities along freight corridors have garnered bipartisan support.

Lack of truck parking concerns ranked fifth on the American Transportation Research Institute’s “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry” from 2021. American Trucking Associations was among the stakeholders praising the panel’s approval of the legislation.

“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.”

“The availability of safe and secure truck parking is not just a challenge for current drivers, it is a barrier our industry must overcome in attracting new drivers, particularly women. Solving it won’t just help today’s industry, it will go a long way toward helping trucking recruit and attract a more diverse workforce,” added Spear, as he urged congressional leaders to clear the legislation for the president’s desk. “This kind of bipartisan solution shows that Congress can still step up and address real challenges faced by American workers.”

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