Trucking Group Decries Congress’ Latest Diss to Truckers as ’Inexcusable’
Washington D.C. – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) frequently says a nation’s budget is a direct reflection of what it values, and if that’s the case, then the United States Congress must not value truckers.
Ironically, during “National Truck Driver Appreciation Week” America’s top political leaders once again demonstrated just how little they actually appreciate the men and women who literally keep this country moving.
On September 14, Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee voted down an amendment to a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill which would have provided $1 billion to address the nationwide truck parking crisis.
The amendment to the Democrats’ unprecedented social spending package was offered by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) and called for diverting the funds — over the next five years — from the $3 billion allocated for the Federal Highway Administration’s grants for carbon reduction projects.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) reacted to the diss by ripping the Democrats on the T&I Committee.
“It’s tough to swallow the fact that in a year when Congress is authorizing hundreds-of-billions of dollars for infrastructure projects and highway safety programs, not a single penny was set aside for truck parking,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s president and CEO. “Despite the long history of broad, bipartisan support, numerous government studies and repeated pleas from truck drivers, Democrats on the T&I Committee opposed efforts to address trucking’s number one safety concern, the lack of safe parking.”
Democrats in the House are not the only ones in the 117th Congress who have, so far, failed truckers.
The U.S. Senate also chose not to allocate any funds for truck parking when it passed a massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill last month.
Further, while the Senate’s colossal 2,700-page piece of legislation calls for roughly $555 billion in new federal spending, it only dedicates $110 billion to actually repair America’s crumbling roads and bridges.
“This year, Congress will spend trillions-upon-trillions of dollars on their favorite government programs and initiatives, and not a penny will be devoted to truck parking,” Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs, recently told Land Line. “Why? Because despite the rhetoric, they simply don’t view the safety of truckers as a priority. What other plausible excuse could there be? You can’t spend trillions of dollars on everything under the sun, then claim there isn’t enough cash to provide any funding for parking. It’s inexcusable.”
Given the latest developments, it now appears unlikely this Congress will take any legislative action to address the worsening parking shortage.
“Every region of our country and segment of our economy rely upon long-haul truck drivers, yet their biggest safety need continues to be ignored by Congress,” Spencer added.