New Bill Seeks $750 MILLION to Help Solve Truck Parking Shortage
Washington D.C. – After decades of little action by lawmakers to solve the nationwide big rig parking shortage, stakeholders are lauding newly introduced legislation that aims to address the worsening crisis.
New legislation introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives last week, called the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act (TPSIA – H.R. 6104), is seeking more than $750 million to be set aside over the next five years to help alleviate the parking shortage problem.
TPSIA was introduced on March 5, 2020, by Reps. Mike Bost (R-Illinois) and Angie Craig (D-Minnesota).
The bi-partisan legislation would direct the Secretary of Transportation to set aside $125 million for 2021, $140 million in 2022, $150 million in 2023, $165 million in 2024 and $175 million in 2025 to “provide parking for commercial motor vehicles on the Federal-aid highway system, and for other purposes.”
According to the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which advised Reps. Bost and Craig on the issue, the bill provides funding for the construction of new rest areas and truck parking facilities.
The funds would also be used to convert existing spaces into truck parking locations at inspection sites, weigh stations, and closed rest areas.
Further, the bill requires the funds to be directed to projects that provide “free” parking to truckers.
Upon its introduction, stakeholders such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Truckload Carriers Association, National Association of Small Trucking Companies, and OOIDA expressed support for the bill.
“Finally, after study after study after study, there’s actually a real bill that could possibly put real pavement down for trucks to park on,” Lewie Pugh, OOIDA executive vice president, said in a recent statement. “This bill is to actually put pavement down to park trucks on… not electronic studies, not signage, not any of that stuff.”
Chris Spear, ATA president, also championed TPSIA.
“America’s truck drivers work every day to deliver goods to keep our economy moving safely and efficiently,” Spear said. “As part of that, the government mandates drivers pull over and rest to comply with the hours-of-service rules, the least our government can do is work to ensure they have a safe place to park to get the rest they need.”
Spear said such legislation is “overdue” and thanked Reps. Bost and Craig for recognizing “truck drivers need places where they can safely park and rest.”
ATA points out that nearly half of all truck drivers report being forced to park on the shoulders of highways or other unofficial, unsafe locations due to lack of parking.
Additionally, on average, the cost of looking for parking amounts to $5,500 in lost wages annually.
“One of the persistent complaints our drivers have is that they struggle to find safe parking,” said ATA Chairman Randy Guillot, president of Triple G Express Inc., New Orleans. “This bill will provide the means to help address that concern.”
OOIDA is urging members and all truckers to contact your House Representative and urge them to co-sponsor the bill.
TPSIA has been referred the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
A hearing on the bill has yet to be scheduled.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow its progress.