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April 5, 2022 3:56 PM, EDT

House Lawmakers Introduce Trucking Workforce Bill

driver trainingStudent drivers practice at Carolina CDL Training Center in Candler, N.C. (Carolina CDL Training Center)

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Legislation aimed at incentivizing individuals to join the trucking workforce was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In response to the industry’s driver shortage, Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) are sponsoring the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act.

The bipartisan bill would establish a refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for truckers with a Class A commercial driver license, and with at least 1,900 operational hours during the year. The credit would run during a two-year period through 2023. Additionally, the legislation would establish a refundable tax credit of up to $10,000 for individuals registered in trucking apprenticeships.

Trucking Workforce Bill by Transport Topics

“Over the last two years, we have seen just how important truck drivers are for keeping our economy growing and our communities moving,” Spanberger said April 1. She sits on the House Agriculture Committee. “But to fully combat the shortages and rising costs faced by families and businesses right now, we need to attract even more skilled drivers to the American trucking industry.”

“Our legislation takes a common-sense step toward addressing our chronic driver shortage. By creating a refundable tax credit for the men and women who keep our goods flowing, we would encourage more young people to hop in the driver’s seat, reduce headaches for trucking businesses, and make sure experienced drivers are rewarded for their hard work,” she added.

“The truck driving industry is facing a massive workforce shortage that’s disrupting supply chains and leaving store shelves empty,” said Gallagher, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “We need truck drivers to keep our economy moving, and this bill takes steps to help encourage more individuals to make a career out of this important work.”

The bill was referred to a committee of jurisdiction for consideration. American Trucking Associations is among the groups endorsing the legislation. ATA recently indicated the industry is short about 80,000 commercial drivers.

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“Building the next generation of trucking talent, and shrinking the nationwide shortage of qualified truck drivers, is one of the highest priorities for our economy over the next decade,” ATA President Chris Spear said in a statement accompanying the bill’s announcement. “This is an issue that directly affects all Americans, not just trucking companies. As driver pay continues to rise at a historic pace, the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act would attract even more drivers into the field by providing substantial tax credits to reduce their federal tax liabilities. This bipartisan bill would make a meaningful difference in the lives of new truckers, further elevating the profession as one of the few available in today’s job market that provides a stable career path to the middle class without the costly burden of a four-year college degree.”

Spear went on to explain, “A challenge as complex as the truck driver shortage cannot be resolved through a single solution. Solving it requires a multifaceted approach that combines industry initiative with good public policy such as this legislation.”