USDOT Gives Truck Parking Projects $292 Million in Grants
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Infrastructure projects aimed at expanding and improving truck drivers’ access to safe parking are receiving $292 million in federal funding, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced.
The four projects, which will add spaces in Florida, Wisconsin and Missouri and deploy a regional West Coast system to connect drivers with available parking spots along Interstate 5, were included among 37 infrastructure initiatives totaling $4.9 billion that President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced jointly Jan. 25.
“I often hear directly from truck drivers on the serious challenge of finding safe parking, and today, we are answering those concerns with more action,” Buttigieg told Transport Topics when asked why such a sizable share of the funding went to truck parking. “This major investment from President Biden’s infrastructure law will build new truck parking facilities and create smart systems to give drivers better information about available spots.”
The projects include:
- $180 million for the Florida Department of Transportation to build over 900 truck parking spaces along I-4 in central Florida
- $92 million for the Missouri DOT to add to and improve parking facilities and information systems along I-70
- $12 million for the Washington DOT to deploy with California and Oregon a regional truck parking information management system at 54 truck parking facilities along the I-5 corridor to connect truck drivers with available parking
- $8 million for Wisconsin DOT to reconstruct a rest area along I-90, expanding the site’s number of parking spots from 16 to 70
American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear applauded the grants.
“The severe shortage of truck parking continues to rank among drivers’ highest concerns, which is why we appreciate that Secretary Buttigieg and a growing number of states are making these projects a top priority,” Spear said in a Jan. 25 statement. “America’s highways are our shop floor. When drivers finish their shift, they deserve to know that they will be able to find a safe place to sleep that night. These significant investments in expanding parking capacity along some of America’s busiest freight corridors will help reduce supply chain bottlenecks, alleviate stress on truck drivers and make the roadways safer for all motorists.”
I often hear directly from truck drivers on the serious challenge of finding safe parking, and today, we are answering those concerns with more action.
Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegImage
The funding comes from two discretionary grant programs, including the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program. Buttigieg described the four initiatives as “truly transformative projects that will change entire regions and our entire country for the better.”
Florida Trucking Association CEO Alix Miller said FTA was proud to have partnered with FDOT on the funding request. “I-4 is one of the busiest corridors for freight movement in the country, with far too few parking options,” she said. “Our state leadership prioritizes the trucking industry and the safety of our drivers, who often have no other choice than to park illegally when they are tired or for their federally mandated rest time. This project will make all motorists safer on our roads and improve efficient movement of freight as we drive the economy forward.”
Miller added, “We thank our state and federal partners for recognizing the importance of truck parking.”
FDOT’s Freight Mobility and Trade Plan identified the I-4 corridor as an area most in need of truck parking. Florida’s “overall truck parking facility demand is near 85% for truck stops and 50% at rest areas statewide. However, during peak periods, truck parking demand can exceed 150% in some areas,” FDOT stated.
The money will help fund a multiphase effort to reconstruct 191 miles of I-70 across Missouri, and support MoDOT’s work to add a third lane to I-70 in each direction for 200 miles across Missouri.
“This grant will enable MoDOT to further stretch the funding for I-70 to include additions such as additional truck parking along I-70, and additional cameras and digital message boards used to help communicate to I-70 travelers,” said Eric Kopinski, director of the I-70 program. “We will also be looking at items to enhance technology and communication efforts through smart work zone features to advise motorists during construction.”
Under shared funding in the I-5 project, the state DOTs from California, Oregon and Washington will deploy an information management system to connect drivers to parking at 54 truck facilities along the interstate. Drivers will be able to access information via a website or mobile phone, an in-cab system, or via parking availability signs.
NEWS: We've announced major funding for projects in areas that are in need of infrastructure repair. Learn more about these exciting investments and what it will mean for your community. https://t.co/DWSXromRzd — U.S. Department of Transportation (@USDOT) January 25, 2024
Wisconsin will use its $8 million award to rebuild and expand a rest area along I-90. In addition to expanding truck parking, the project will replace deteriorated pavement and fund construction of a new building with updated restrooms.
The planned 54 new parking spots at the facility will help alleviate struggles drivers now face in the area, WisDOT said. It noted that more than 150 trucks a day are diverted from the site due to capacity issues.
The rebuilt rest stop also will add technology that integrates with real-time parking spot availability at WisDOT-owned rest areas.
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