Parking Zone – August/September 2020

One truck parking bill out, one more left to go

August-September 2020

Tyson Fisher

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New reports regarding local truck parking are too numerous and small in scope to report on individually. However, what each of these news items mean to the underlying national problem is too significant to ignore. Below is a roundup of the latest truck parking-related news items from across the United States, ranging from proposed legislation regarding fines to new truck stops.

In this month’s Parking Zone, we’ll focus mostly on items that didn’t make the online version or have changed up a bit. Looks like we’re finally getting close to returning to business as usual, for better or for worse.

Truck parking bills

In July’s Parking Zone, there were two bills directly related to truck parking: HR2 (formerly HR7095) and HR6104. Now, we are down to one, which is HR6104.

HR2, also known as the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act, was passed by the House on July 1. As of press time, the Senate had not voted on the bill. Technically, the highway bill is still alive. However, it is on life support, and Senate Republicans have pretty much said they will immediately pull the plug.

Section 1308 of HR2 is a provision that allocates funding specifically for additional truck parking spaces. The original bill was trucker-friendly and gained the support of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. Unfortunately, Rep. Chuy Garcia, D-Ill., submitted an amendment that calls for the minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers to be increased from $750,000 to $2 million. The amendment passed, and OOIDA immediately withdrew its support for the bill, calling the amendment a poison pill. Numerous other wish-list items not related to trucking makes it a no-go for Republicans, who control the Senate.

In a way, this is good news. Now that HR2 is pretty much dead as it stands, the trucking industry can throw all of its eggs in the HR6104 basket when it comes to truck parking. Even better news is the fact that HR6104, also known as the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, was the better parking bill in the first place. Contact your senators and representatives, and encourage them to cosponsor and/or support HR6104. So far, the bill has seven bipartisan cosponsors.

Love’s coming to Florida panhandle

Truckers who travel on Interstate 10 on the Florida panhandle will eventually have another option when it comes to truck parking. A new Love’s Travel Stop has been approved in Milton, Fla., on Garcon Point Road off of I-10. The truck stop is scheduled to open next summer.

Closure of California rest area not motorists’ fault

Drivers who travel on Interstate 80 in Northern California might have noticed that the Gold Run rest area closes frequently. KCRA 3 Investigates discovered that the reason behind the closures is not what Caltrans has been claiming.

After a 2017 restoration, the Gold Run rest area has been shut down several times due to plumbing issues. Caltrans had blamed the problems on drivers flushing things down the toilet. However, after the state continued to shut down the rest area despite it having just undergone a multimillion dollar renovation, KCRA 3 Investigates wanted to know the details surrounding why taxpayer dollars were being flushed down the toilet as well. Turns out, it was a major design flaw with the new septic system. Even worse, Caltrans knew that but shifted the blame to motorists instead. Hopefully, Caltrans gets its crap (pun intended) together, fixes the septic problem and keeps that rest area (which has truck parking) open.

New QuikTrip approved in Illinois

QuikTrip is typically not associated with truck parking since it is mostly a gas station for four-wheelers. However, the city of Mount Vernon, Ill., has approved of a QuikTrip Travel Center that will be open for trucking. There’s no timeline regarding when it may open, but when it does, the travel center will include 19 truck parking spaces. It’s not a lot, but it’s definitely more than zero. The new QuikTrip will be at the corner of Wells Bypass and Veterans Memorial Drive, which is right off of Interstate 64.

Nebraska town gearing up for new truck stop

The Norfolk Planning Commission paved the way for a new truck stop in the Nebraska town in June. Wisner West Inc. had requested a commercial zoning change for a major development that will include a truck stop. The commission recommended to approve the request unanimously. The city council then voted unanimously to pass the ordinance on its first reading during its July 6 meeting. Even better, the council voted unanimously to suspend the rules and just approved the second and third readings in one fell swoop. It was basically the polar opposite of the NIMBY action we are so used to nowadays.

Ramsay, Mont., saga continues

The fight against a proposed truck stop continues in Ramsay, Mont. NIMBYs in Ramsay have been losing the battle of a proposed Love’s Travel Stop in the Montana town. Last year, the city approved a liquor license for Love’s. In June, residents appealed that decision. A Butte district court judge heard oral arguments and has not yet made a decision as of press time. You have to admire the NIMBYs’ perseverance. LL

Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.