The US Senate has reintroduced a bipartisan bill to address the nationwide shortage of safe and accessible truck parking. The legislation, known as the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, proposes the authorization of $755 million in competitive grant funding to expand commercial truck parking capacity across the country. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Representatives Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) introduced the bill in 2021, and it was unanimously passed by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure before lawmakers adjourned in January.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear highlight that the lack of safe and accessible truck parking places an enormous and costly burden on the nation’s truck drivers as they work to deliver goods for the American people. He also adds that given the chronic nature of this issue and its national scope, it is imperative Congress takes action to provide dedicated funding to expand commercial truck parking capacity.
According to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), there is only one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road. OOIDA President Todd Spencer notes that when truck drivers don’t have a designated place to park, they end up parking on the side of the road, near exit ramps, or elsewhere, which isn’t safe for them or other road users. Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by Commercial Carrier Journal (CCJ) found that nearly half (45%) of the respondents, which included more than 800 leased owner-operators and company drivers, said finding parking was their biggest problem as a driver that’s not related to their current employer/leasing fleet, ranking it ahead of traffic delays (32%) and detention (15%).
The proposed legislation establishes new eligibility criteria for funding, including driver safety considerations, and covers routine maintenance expenses. The U.S. Department of Transportation will competitively award funding, and applicants must submit detailed proposals. The primary focus of the funding will be to construct new truck parking facilities and convert existing weigh stations and rest areas into functional parking spaces. The bill is similar to the truck parking legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, which has unanimously passed the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Eligible grant recipients, including state transportation departments, metropolitan planning organizations, and local governments, can partner with the private sector to carry out their projects. The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act aims to ease the burden on truck drivers by providing safe and accessible truck parking and reducing the number of drivers who have to park in unsafe areas. The proposed legislation also considers the safety of truck drivers by establishing new driver safety criteria for funding.
The shortage of safe and accessible truck parking is a pressing issue that the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act aims to solve. With only one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road, the lack of safe and accessible parking is not only a burden on truck drivers, but it is also a safety issue for all road users. The proposed legislation provides a solution to the issue and aims to ease the burden on truck drivers and improve road safety for all.