Legislation has been introduced to create a dedicated source of funding to build more truck parking spots on the U.S. federal-aid highway system.
U.S. Representatives Mike Bost (R-IL) and Angie Craig (D-MN), joined by their colleagues Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Susan Wild (D-PA), and Pete Stauber (R-MN), introduced H.R. 2187, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act.
In the bill, the lawmakers are requesting $755 million be allocated over five years specifically to add truck parking capacity. Funding would come from existing funds within the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and the Highway Trust Fund.
Truck drivers are required to stop and rest at certain intervals to meet hours-of-service regulations. Sometimes, truckers who run out of service hours, and cannot find parking spots in at truck stops or rest areas, park in unsafe places, like the shoulder of a highway or a ramp.
The American Trucking Associations praised the introduction of the bipartisan legislation.
“The severe shortage of safe parking presents truckers with an untenable dilemma: either keep driving when they are fatigued and possibly in violation of their federal hours-of-service requirement — or park in unsafe, sometimes illegal locations, such as a roadside shoulder,” said ATA president and CEO Chris Spear.
Currently, there are more than 11 truck drivers for every one parking space. Studies show that 98% of drivers report problems finding safe truck parking, and the average driver spends 56 minutes of available drive time every day looking for parking.
That wasted time amounts to a $5,500 loss in annual compensation – or a 12% annual pay cut. Moreover, 58% of all drivers admit to parking in unauthorized or undesignated spots at least three times per week to meet their parking needs.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has also applauded the legislation.
Funding could be used for the construction of new truck parking facilities, expansion of truck parking at existing rest areas, conversion of space at existing weigh stations, or any other innovative solution that increases capacity. Funding would be awarded on a competitive basis and applicants would be required to submit detailed proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“We’ve been sounding the alarm on the truck parking crisis for decades,” said Todd Spencer, president, OOIDA. “While Congress and the Federal Highway Administration have tried to address this issue with the enactment of Jason’s Law and launching the National Coalition on Truck Parking, the continued growth of the parking shortage shows the status quo is not sustainable,” Spencer added. “Congress must provide dedicated federal investment to expand capacity if it is serious about addressing the problem.”
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