Senate lawmakers introduced legislation on Thursday that would set aside $755 million in competitive grants over four years to expand much-needed truck parking across the country.
The bipartisan Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., will serve as companion legislation to a House version introduced last year and approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in July.
Like the House bill, which currently has 25 Republican and 14 Democratic co-sponsors, the Senate bill allows for public-private projects that create new parking areas or expand parking existing facilities, and projects that allow for commercial parking at existing weigh stations, rest areas, and park-and-ride facilities.
Unlike the House bill, however, the Senate bill would also allow for truck parking expansion at commercial truck stops and travel plazas.
The American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association championed that legislation in a joint letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in February. Both had similar praise for the bill introduced on Thursday.
“There is only 1 parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer.
“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. This isn’t safe for the driver and it’s not safe for others on the road. Senator Lummis and Senator Kelly have heard from small business truckers and are taking meaningful steps to increase truck parking capacity.”
ATA President Chris Spear asserted that a shortage of truck parking “continues to strain our supply chain and jeopardize highway safety for all motorists. This carefully crafted legislation provides needed investments to remedy the problem while incentivizing public-private partnerships to further expand truck parking capacity.”
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