USDOT Unveils Guide, Grants to Combat Truck Parking Shortage
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Describing efforts to battle the truck parking shortage, top federal transportation and maritime leaders unveiled a guide to help states and described available grants.
“We owe our truckers a safe place to rest not just because it’s the right thing to do, not only because it’s gonna save drivers time and money, but because everyone is better off when truckers can do their jobs to the best of their abilities,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.
Opening a National Coalition on Truck Parking Virtual Workshop on Sept. 30, Buttigieg cited research noting 98% of truck drivers reporting problems finding safe parking.
“Just about every truck driver in America has been in a situation where you’re on a long trip or ahead of schedule and have to pull up on the shoulder of a highway on the side of an exit ramp into a vacant space in order to rest because of the lack of proper truck parking,” he remarked.
U.S. Department of Transportation
Buttigieg noted that for the first time truck parking projects (one each in Florida and Tennessee) were awarded federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America competitive grants Sept. 15 among $1.5 billion going to 26 highway, multimodal freight and rail projects in 22 states and Puerto Rico.
After suggesting that states continue to seek ways to spend federal infrastructure funds to expand truck parking, he said he was “proud to share a new handbook for state leaders to make the most of those opportunities” to use available resources to create more safe truck parking.
“It outlines the fundamentals of truck parking issues, factors that influence truck, parking demand and options for integrating truck parking at locations where it is most needed,” said FHWA Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollock, who added that the current 313,000 truck parking spaces throughout the country are insufficient.
Jeff Purdy, FHWA freight programs team leader, noted that a new federal requirement in state freight plans to include commercial motor vehicle parking facility assessments will provide better information for national analysis.
New truck parking assessments in the state freight plans will lead to increased collaboration with the trucking industry and investment in truck parking, Pollack asserted.
Purdy said many types of federal grants are applicable to enhancing truck parking, including those for electric vehicles and technology improvements.
Robin Hutcheson, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said her office is going to continue to prioritize truck parking in current and future grants. She said FMCSA is actively encouraging states to apply for grants with technology applications such as those demonstrating real-time dissemination to commercial motor vehicle drivers about truck parking spaces and availability, which can include dynamic message signs, interactive voice recognition and smartphone apps.
Federal funds also were brought up by retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, DOT administrator for the Maritime Administration, who reaffirmed a commitment to the importance of truck parking.
“We are committed to the safety of America’s truckers and truck parking at our ports and marine terminals. Your presence, whether it be in drayage or longhaul, is essential to the successful operation of our ports and supply chains,” Phillips declared. “You are the first and last tactical mile in delivering the goods and services our economy needs. We can’t do it without you.”
Noting that for the first time port authorities were part of a truck parking survey conducted in 2020, Phillips said states and other entities applying for port grant programs should consider truck parking facilities.
Truckers need not only safe, efficient long-term parking in or near ports, but also short-term truck staging areas “so the truckers have a place to go as they are waiting to drop loads,” she added.
Phillips emphasized that the Maritime Administration “believes that public and private sector coordination is critical to address long-term truck parking and staging needs, and we look forward to continuing our work with federal and industry partners to address safety for truck parking.”
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