The American Trucking Associations Thursday thanked the U.S. Department of Transportation for its commitment to expanding the nation’s truck parking capacity.

 In a letter to ATA President and CEO Chris Spear, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pledged the Biden Administration’s support for increasing the availability of safe parking options for America’s professional truck drivers through its Trucking Action Plan, grant funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and increased coordination with state departments of transportation and the trucking industry.

“We thank Secretary Buttigieg and the administration for their ongoing commitment to America’s professional truck drivers,” said Spear. “The Secretary has stated how important the issue of truck parking is to him and his department, and we are extremely grateful that he is delivering on that intention.”

Spear recently wrote to Buttigieg urging the Department of Transportation to prioritize this issue, which affects highway safety, driver wellbeing, productivity, and the environment. A USDOT report found 98% of drivers regularly experience problems finding safe parking. Studies by the American Transportation Research Institute have found that drivers spend an average of 56 minutes of drive time per day to find parking, directly costing them about $5,500 in lost compensation — or a 12% cut in annual pay.

In recent days, Florida and Tennessee were awarded a combined $37,600,000 in INFRA grant funding by USDOT to expand truck parking capacity.

“This issue is of particular importance for women drivers, who repeatedly cite the lack of safe parking options as a deterrent to more women entering the field,” Spear said. “Investing in these projects and ensuring all drivers have ready access to safe and well-lit parking facilities is an important step in shifting our industry’s workforce demographics and empowering more women across the country to pursue the rewarding career opportunities that trucking has to offer.”