OOIDA, WTA testify in support of Washington truck parking bill

January 26, 2022

Keith Goble

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The Washington Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Associations testified in support this week at a Washington House committee hearing on a bill to provide incentives to increase truck parking options around the state and at ports.

The House Finance Committee met Tuesday to discuss a bill that is intended to reduce emissions and safety risks of inadequate commercial truck parking in the state.

Big problem

Rep. Dan Griffey, R-Allyn, said his bill addresses the “big problem” of a lack of safe and secure overnight truck parking.

“We are finding that we are not treating our truckers very well and dealing with the global supply chain shortage. Washington state’s policies are kind of getting in the way,” Griffey testified.

“What we are asking for in this bill … is that we give the private sector and a little bit of the public sector the ability to creatively figure out this problem so that we do not spend any of our hard-earned dollars. What the bill does is it gives a tax preference to those people that invest in overnight parking.”

Addressing supply concerns

Griffey wrote in the bill that the demand for truck parking in Washington “far exceeds supply.”

“In a 2016 Washington state department of transportation survey, over 60% of truckers reported spending an hour or more per day looking for parking,” Griffey wrote. “The shortage of truck parking stifles economic growth, increases pollution, and makes our roadways less safe as fatigued drivers cannot find a safe place to park.”

He adds that a workshop of the Federal Highway Administration and the Washington State Department of Transportation found that the biggest hurdles for expanding capacity are high real estate costs and community opposition.

Tax incentives

A bill analysis attached to the bill shows the average cost to construct a single parking station to range from $800,000 to $1.4 million.

Griffey’s bill, HB1657, would add capacity through tax reductions associated with expanding existing parking and developing new parking.

Specifically, all real and personal property would be exempt from property taxes at a time when there are a minimum of 10 “safe, overnight commercial truck parking spaces constructed.”

As introduced, the bill calls for truck parking spaces to be a minimum of 54 feet long and 11 feet wide.

Trucking groups testify

OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh told the committee that OOIDA members identify parking as one of the daily problems they face daily. He added that members say they spend at least an hour daily trying to find a safe place to park.

“What we’ve been doing in the past just isn’t working. Every year there is less capacity, but there are more trucks on the road,” Pugh said. “(HB1657) is a way to allow private companies to figure out ways to add parking, and to get a tax incentive.

“We need to find better ways to build a better mouse trap. This is one of those ways.”

Sheri Call, WTA president and CEO, said that truck parking is an important issue with bigger implications for the health and resiliency of the supply chain.

“It’s been validated by multiple studies. There is no disagreement that truck parking is in short supply in Washington state,” Call testified.

She added that the issue of truck parking presents a simple problem for which there are few simple answers.

“There have been several potential solutions but none better or more preferred by truck drivers than parking in areas where services are provided, such as truck stops. HB1657 provides incentives for private development of truck parking spaces and presents a challenge to add new capacity where drivers prefer to park.”

OOIDA and WTA asked for a change in the bill that covers minimum dimensions for parking spaces. The groups would like to see minimum spaces set at 70 feet long and 12 wide.

Griffey said he would make the change to the bill wording on parking dimensions.

“Their amendment is fine. They are the ones who drive the trucks,” he said.

The bill awaits further committee consideration. LL

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Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.