A truck parking update from ‘Live From Exit 24’

October 21, 2021

SJ Munoz

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What is being done to solve the ongoing crisis that is truck parking?

Host Mike Matousek, OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh and Bryce Mongeon, OOIDA’s director of legislative affairs provided an update on the situation and addressed listener concerns on the Oct. 20 “Live From Exit 24.”

As mandated by Jason’s Law, a national inventory of truck parking in 2014 showed that there is in fact a national shortage, Mongeon said. Unfortunately, the updated version in 2019 showed that little had been done to remedy the issue.

“Some states even have fewer public truck parking spaces than when they first did the survey,” Mongeon said. “They also found the nation’s trucking parking capacity has not kept pace with the growth in truck vehicle miles traveled. Broadly speaking, there is a shortage of truck parking and it’s getting worse even though states can use federal funding to expand capacity.”

Listen to ‘Live From Exit 24’

As a result, OOIDA continues to fight to secure dedicated truck parking in any highway or infrastructure bill, in addition to, standalone legislation (HR2187).

“We’ve definitely raised the profile of the issue,” Mongeon said. “We know the work isn’t done on it, and we’re still trying to see if we can get it over the finish line.”

Even if dedicated funding for truck parking isn’t part of any legislation that is passed, all hope is not lost.

“We’re going to see if there are ways that money that is already out there can be used for truck parking,” Mongeon said. “We will make the argument this is something that needs to be addressed. There’s still opportunities to expand capacity.”

The head-scratching part is that very few, including those enacting laws, deny there’s a truck parking problem.

“I think it’s very disappointing; what’s not being done,” Pugh said. “Everybody knows it’s an issue. When we talk to the legislative people on Capitol Hill, they know it’s an issue. They go places and see the trucks after dark, lined up on the ramps and the rest areas overflowing. There’s really only one organization I know of that’s against it. That’s unheard of in Washington D.C.”

Pugh urged truckers to pick up the phone and do their due diligence in contacting their elected officials.

Listeners detailed what they’re seeing out on the road and offered a couple of different solutions including median parking, distribution centers providing parking and commercialization among others.

“The operators of truck stops certainly have very good relationships with lawmakers and have a lot of sway on this issue,” Mongeon said. “We were appreciative during the onset of the pandemic last year the federal highway administration made some allowances to allow food trucks to operate at rest stops, if states wanted to allow it. That was a good way of showing a way to expand services for truckers.”

Government land is another option that can be explored, Pugh said.

“Truck stops can’t afford to build on the land around big cities, it’s too valuable for shopping or businesses,” Pugh said. “The government can surely take some of the land they have and put in some parking areas. Every town seems to have an industrial park. The government could make a regulation for a certain amount of parking for trucks that are going to be serving that industrial park.”

Lastly, Mongeon echoed Pugh’s call for drivers to get in touch with their representatives to express their concerns.

“That’s how we get things done, don’t be afraid to reach out to them.” Mongeon said.

OOIDA talk show

“Live From Exit 24” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Central every other Wednesday. Listeners can tune in to the show on the Live From Exit 24 website, OOIDA Facebook page or on OOIDA’s YouTube channel. The next episode airs Wednesday, Nov. 3.

Survey

“Live From Exit 24” launched as a way to expand OOIDA’s communication with members and to hear directly from drivers across the industry. OOIDA is asking for truck drivers to fill out a survey to let the Association know how you are liking the show so far. Help guide what’s addressed during the program. The survey is here. LL

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SJ Munoz is the newest edition to the Land Line Media team. He brings a variety of skills to the job as he has experience as a reporter, photographer and in radio. He’s also written for Omaha Magazine, the Lawrence Journal-World, and PrepsKC.com.