House T&I leaders urge DOT to address truck parking

June 8, 2022

Mark Schremmer

|

The lack of truck parking is a critical safety issue that requires immediate attention.

That was the message to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a letter from the leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

T&I Chair Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and ranking member Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., wrote to Buttigieg on Tuesday, June 7, about the need for more tractor-trailer parking capacity.

“With the enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Department of Transportation has an opportunity to address longstanding safety deficiencies on our nation’s infrastructure,” DeFazio and Graves wrote. “As the department establishes its spending priorities, we ask that you closely consider applications for and award funding to projects that will expand truck parking capacity. We believe that focusing funding on truck parking will improve highway safety for all road users and help to alleviate longstanding supply chain inefficiencies.”

DeFazio and Graves said the lack of truck parking is a danger to commercial drivers and others on the road.

“The national shortage of truck parking makes it difficult for truckers to find a safe place to rest and to take breaks in compliance with federal hours-of-service regulations,” the letter stated. “If a truck driver is unable to find a safe and legal parking space, they are often forced to park in hazardous locations, like road shoulders or abandoned lots.”

The T&I leaders cited an April 2020 Texas Statewide Truck Parking Study from the Texas DOT. From 2013 until 2017, the study found that there were more than 2,300 crashes involving parked trucks, resulting in 138 fatalities.

The House included $1 billion in dedicated funding for parking in its version of the infrastructure bill. However, the House version died in the Senate. The infrastructure bill that eventually was signed into law did not dedicate any money to the truck parking crisis.

Earlier this year, Buttigieg pointed to several programs that state DOTs could use to secure funding for truck parking. In addition, tractor-trailer parking was included in the administration’s Trucking Action Plan.

“The inclusion of truck parking in the administration’s Trucking Action Plan released in December 2021 is another step in the right direction, and we hope that you will continue to look for any opportunity to make progress on expanding parking capacity,” DeFazio and Graves wrote. “We urge the department to redouble its efforts and use the available resources at the department’s disposal to finally make progress on this issue.

“Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle strongly support investment to expand truck parking capacity. We ask that you continue to focus on this issue and use any available authority to address the safety crisis.” LL

TravelCenters

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.