House Lawmakers Introduce Truck Parking Bill

truck parking
Entrance to a truck parking facility. (Ohio Department of Transportation)

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Legislation that would dedicate funds to expand truckers’ access to parking nationwide was recently introduced in the House of Representatives.

The Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking, or SHIP IT, Act, introduced by Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), would approve nearly $800 million through fiscal 2026 for parking projects connected to commercial vehicle operations.

“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 measure, which also aims to promote safety and enhance capacity along freight corridors. Its committee consideration has yet to be scheduled.

Johnson, a member of the transportation panel, emphasized economic benefits associated with a vibrant supply chain. “Americans experienced a slew of freight disruptions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Johnson said Jan. 24 in a statement accompanying the bill’s introduction. “Last year we addressed ocean shipping reform, and it’s clear that updates are needed for other parts of the supply chain.”

“The SHIP IT Act will bridge gaps, keep costs down for consumers, and make it easier for shippers to move products across the U.S,” he continued.

“Disruptions in our trucking supply chain continue to drive up costs and create uncertainty for American consumers and producers,” Costa added. “We need to recruit, train and retain truck drivers to keep our supply chain moving, while also updating best practices to improve trucking to fit our modern economy.”

Their bill also would approve tax incentives, streamline the commercial driver license process and provide economic benefits for individuals planning to join the trucking workforce. American Trucking Associations determined the industry is short approximately 78,000 drivers, a decrease from the previous estimate of 80,000 drivers.

Various stakeholders have endorsed the legislation. Sean Joyce, executive director of the Shippers Coalition, said shortly after its introduction: “Our supply chain is at a breaking point, and the introduction of the SHIP IT Act is a critical step in building a stronger transportation network. The SHIP IT Act will strengthen our nation’s supply chains before another crisis occurs.”

“[Reps.] Johnson and Costa have introduced a sensible solution for helping to untangle the nation’s supply chain problems and strengthening the U.S. economy,” added Chris Jahn, president and CEO of American Chemistry Council. “This bill removes numerous regulatory barriers that will make it easier for truckers to do their job — delivering critical products across the country.”

During the previous session of Congress, policymakers had introduced bills that sought to enhance parking access for the women and men who operate trucks. Those bills failed to reach the president’s desk before the start of the new session of Congress.

In December, Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) introduced the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which would have approved funding to increase capacity as well as expand parking areas. Last summer, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a similar bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.).

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The House bill would have provided transportation agencies funding for building or expanding parking areas for commercial vehicles. Legislation designed to expand parking facilities at freight corridors has often gained bipartisan backing on Capitol Hill. During the committee’s consideration of his bill, Bost said: “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.”

Inadequate access to parking ranked third on American Transportation Research Institute’s “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry” unveiled in 2022.