House Panel Presses Supply Chain Improvements

Bipartisan Legislation Would Help Maintain Swift Freight Movement
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The safety and efficiency of the country’s supply chains are being examined by the panel on highway policy in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Highways and Transit Subcommittee recently signaled bipartisanship on potential legislation that would help maintain the swift movement of freight. A supply chain-centric bill also would aim to integrate emerging technologies along commercial corridors and facilitate access to parking facilities for truck drivers.

During a hearing May 10, Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), the panel’s chairman, affirmed his commitment to boosting trucking operations.

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.)

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) says, "Simply put, our economy requires a properly functioning trucking industry." (Rep. Rick Crawford)

“The trucking industry plays a crucial role in the supply chain, ensuring that goods and supplies are transported from one location to another. A popular refrain that demonstrates the importance of the trucking industry is: ‘If you bought it, a trucker brought it,’ because nearly everything purchased for your home got to the store on the back of a truck,” the subcommittee’s leader told colleagues and stakeholders at the hearing.

“Simply put, our economy requires a properly functioning trucking industry,” he continued. “More than 70% of our nation’s freight tonnage is moved by the trucking industry every year, and more than 80% of our communities get their goods exclusively by trucks.” This month, Crawford will join Transport Topics for a Newsmakers interview.

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.)


Transportation committee ranking member Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) centered his supply chain focus on programs approved in 2021’s bipartisan infrastructure law.

“Ensuring a well-functioning supply chain means better infrastructure everywhere, and elimination of bottlenecks wherever they exist. Everyone who voted for the [bipartisan infrastructure law] voted to make our supply chain more efficient and more resilient,” Larsen said. “The administration’s work to address supply chain challenges stemming from the pandemic also supports this goal.”

Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.)

Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) 

House lawmakers are equipped with a legislative road map for pursuing policy updates to supply chain concerns. In March, Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) introduced the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. The bill would authorize $755 million in competitive grants for expanding parking areas for commercial vehicles.

Prior to the truck parking bill, House lawmakers introduced the Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act. The bill aims to reform aspects of supply chain operations, with attention to parking projects. Per the bill, sponsored by Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.): “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.”

The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)

May 17, 10 a.m.: The House Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “The Impacts of FEMA’s Strategic Plan on Disaster Preparedness and Response.”

May 17, 10:15 a.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets for a hearing titled, “Federal Actions to Improve Project Reviews for a Cleaner and Stronger Economy.” Watch the hearing here.

May 18, 10 a.m.: The Senate Finance Committee meets to review the Inflation Reduction Act.

Freight Corridor

It’s back: The mother of all Weeks.

Legislative Docket

Sen. Maria Cantwell


The Senate Commerce Committee, by a 16-11 vote, advanced the Railway Safety Act. Sponsored by Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown (D) and J.D. Vance (R), the measure responds to a Norfolk Southern freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The bill would target rail-centric issues, as well as provisions specific to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Its floor consideration has yet to be scheduled.

“This bipartisan legislation is focused on learning the lessons from East Palestine and helping us to avoid future accidents,” committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said May 10. “No community should have to go through the trauma and evacuation and environmental damage that East Palestine had to go through, especially when you can prevent these from happening.”


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters has a new name. USDOT’s main office in Washington, D.C. is now formally known as the William T. Coleman, Jr. and Norman Y. Mineta Federal Building. “Secretaries Bill Coleman and Norm Mineta were not only exemplary stewards of our nation’s transportation system but boundary-breaking leaders who devoted their lives to the service of our country,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said last week.

Favorite Video

When the debt collector is waiting.

Favorite Tweet

A look at the 12% excise tax.

The Last Word

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to ripple through supply chains.

Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas), chairman of the Railroads Subcommittee, on May 11

Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas)

We publish Mondays when Congress is in session. See previous installments of Capitol Agenda here. Email with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.

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