‘Groundbreaking’ House bill will add more truck parking spaces

March 9, 2020

Tyson Fisher

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Hailed as a “groundbreaking” solution to alleviate the nationwide shortage of safe, accessible, truck parking, a new bill in Congress would provide federal funds to build out the nation’s parking infrastructure.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association worked closely with members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to develop meaningful truck parking legislation that would garner support throughout the industry.

“After decades of ignoring the problem, Congress is finally getting serious about fixing the severe lack of truck parking across the country,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “Finding a safe place to park is something most people take for granted, but it’s a daily struggle for hundreds of thousands of truckers.”

Reps. Mike Bost, R-Ill., and Angie Craig, D-Minn., members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced HR6104, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, to the House on Thursday, March 5. The bill addresses truck parking by dedicating existing highway funding specifically to projects that expand truck parking capacity.

“Growing up in a family trucking business, I learned at early age what a rewarding career it could be,” Bost said. “However, I also understood that trucking can be a tough, demanding, and even dangerous job. One concern for truck drivers is the lack of enough safe parking spots where they can get the rest they need without risking collisions on the shoulder of the highway or being forced to push their limits to find the next rest stop.  This puts the truckers and other motorists as significant risk. That’s why I’m proud to lead this effort to create sufficient rest parking options for long-haul truckers.”

HR6104 establishes a competitive discretionary grant program and dedicates hundreds of millions of dollars in existing federal funding for parking projects across the country.

The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act is requesting $125 million for 2021, $140 million in 2022, $150 million in 2023, $165 million in 2024 and a total of $175 million in 2025.

“Congressman Bost and Congresswoman Craig have shown they not only understand truckers are experiencing a crisis, but have the mettle to address it through groundbreaking, bipartisan legislation,” Spencer said.

With a focus on increasing capacity, HR6104 provides funding for the construction of new rest areas and truck parking facilities, while also helping public entities convert existing spaces – such as inspection sites, weigh stations and closed rest areas – into truck parking locations. To be eligible for a truck parking grant, a project cannot charge a fee to access and park at the new facility.

“Right now, there is a lack of places for truck drivers to safely stop, forcing them to pull over to the side of the road, or continue driving, both of which are risky,” Craig said. “That’s why I am proud to be working my colleague, Rep. Mike Bost from Illinois, to increase truck parking spaces, increasing safety for folks transporting goods to and from Minnesota’s Second Congressional District.”

HR6104 is also being supported by the American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association and the National Association of Small Trucking Companies.

“Truck drivers perform a valuable service to our economy – moving more than 70% of our nation’s goods – and having opportunities to safely rest is an important part of that,” ATA president and CEO Chris Spear said. “Congressman Bost’s recognition that in order to do their jobs, truck drivers need places where they can safely park and rest is overdue and we applaud him for his leadership in introducing this important legislation.”

The bill was introduced on the 11th anniversary of the death of Jason Rivenburg, a trucker from Fultonham, N.Y. Rivenburg was murdered during a robbery while parked in an abandoned gas station in South Carolina. The incident sparked a nationwide outcry and led to the creation of Jason’s Law, which attempted to address the truck parking crisis in 2012 by directing the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a nationwide parking survey.

Since 2012, no significant action has been taken at the federal level to add truck parking capacity. Currently, the DOT is working on the second edition of the survey.

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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.