Truck Parking Projects on Docket, Secretary Buttigieg Says
[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]
Addressing reporters on Capitol Hill on Sept. 20, the secretary said a timetable of upcoming highway safety projects would prioritize parking for the women and men who operate commercial vehicles around the country.
Federal grants that are made available to state transportation agencies also are opportunities for stakeholders to develop and expand truck parking projects, Buttigieg explained. These sources of funding include the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highway Projects program, or INFRA, and the Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability and Equity program, or RAISE.
“You’re going to continue to see proposals that include truck parking get favorable consideration when they’re coming in for our grant programs, at least those grant programs where it’s eligible. INFRA is one example; RAISE, potentially, is another one,” Buttigieg said shortly after a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing.
“We really want to turn up the dial on [federal formula] dollars because the states can do a lot with this, but they may not necessarily realize it, or they may not prioritize it,” the secretary went on. “So we’ll keep scoring highly when a truck parking project is eligible and compelling. We want to make sure states are doing the same thing with those dollars.”
On Sept. 13, the department announced more than $80 million in grants is available for highway safety programs, such as parking projects. Transportation agencies in Louisiana, Florida and Tennessee were recently awarded grants specific for truck parking facilities. The funding was approved primarily through the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was enacted in 2021.
“President [Joe] Biden’s historic investment through the bipartisan infrastructure law helps improve commercial motor vehicle safety on our roadways both at the national and local levels,” Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration head Robin Hutcheson said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Our grantees will dedicate these investments to innovative technology, research and other projects that will positively impact [commercial motor vehicle] safety and move us towards the National Roadway Safety Strategy’s goal of zero deaths on our nation’s roadways.”
On Capitol Hill, policymakers have yet to clear for the president’s desk comprehensive legislation meant to expand truck parking availability. A bill awaiting a vote in the House would expand parking facilities for truck drivers. In May, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was advanced by the chamber’s transportation policy panel by voice-vote. Specifically, the bill would authorize $755 million through fiscal 2026 to expand parking access for commercial vehicles. Under the bill, state agencies would be tasked with adding parking to existing facilities and assisting with the construction of new facilities.
“Truck drivers do the hard work to keep our supply chains moving, and it’s our responsibility to protect their safety and well-being,” said Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.), a co-sponsor. “I’m pleased to see my bipartisan bill heading to the House floor for a vote — and will be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this passed.”
Resolving the parking shortage for truckers has gained bipartisan action in Congress. A companion version sponsored by Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) has yet to be considered in committee. “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 said. “I am grateful for Sen. Lummis’s continued partnership on this effort and her commitment to tackling this issue.”
Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: