House Lawmakers Unveil Trucking Workforce Bill
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A bill meant to promote workforce opportunities for individuals seeking to enter the trucking workforce was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“During the pandemic, truckers didn’t have any remote options — yet they went to work every single day to keep our economy moving and our communities strong. Our country needs to step up and recognize their hard work — and we need to encourage more Americans to enter this industry,” Spanberger, a member of the Agriculture Committee, said March 30. “Throughout Virginia, I hear about the need to address our chronic truck driver shortage. Our bipartisan bill would help bring more drivers into the fold, keep them on the highway and reward them for their loyalty.”
Gallagher, a member of the Armed Services Committee, added, “The truck driving industry is facing a massive workforce shortage that’s disrupting nearly every aspect of our supply chains. We need to encourage more young men and women to join this career path, and this bipartisan bill is a common-sense way to recruit and retain more drivers to keep our shelves stocked and our economy moving.”
Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.)
The bill is designed to set up a refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for truckers with a Class A commercial driver license. These drivers would need at least 1,900 operational hours during the year. The credit would be accessible for a two-year period through 2024. Additionally, a provision would establish a refundable tax credit of up to $10,000 for those in a registered trucking apprenticeship.
The legislation was reported to a committee of jurisdiction for consideration. The bill’s sponsors introduced the bill last year.
Touting the bill are stakeholders, such as American Trucking Associations. The trucking workforce is short about 78,000 drivers, ATA recently determined.
“Reducing the nationwide shortage of qualified truck drivers will require investment in developing the next generation of trucking talent. Even as driver pay continues to rise at a historic clip, the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act will provide even more incentive for those considering a career in trucking but by providing substantial tax credits to reduce their federal tax liabilities,” ATA President Chris Spear said in a statement accompanying the measure’s introduction.
“The bill also would provide relief for Americans currently driving trucks, helping the industry retain these essential workers. This bipartisan legislation will make a meaningful difference in the lives of new truckers, helping them move into one of the few professions in today’s economy that can provide a middle-class lifestyle without the time and expense of a four-year college degree,” Spear added.
Dale Bennett, CEO of the Virginia Trucking Association, said, “The pandemic and supply chain issues have shown us the importance of having an adequate supply of qualified truck drivers. The trucking industry currently has a shortage of nearly 80,000 drivers, and the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act provides a short-term, fast and straightforward incentive to retain and attract new and former drivers.”
Scott Dane, executive director of the American Loggers Council, noted, “This legislation will provide the necessary incentives to support the ‘pipeline’ of drivers.”
Other backers of the measure include the National Grocers Association, the International Foodservice Distributors Association, the American Building Materials Alliance, the Forest Resources Association, the Hardwood Federation, the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America, Third Way and the National Pork Producers Council.
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