Truck parking bill receives attention at House hearing
April 14, 2021
•Land Line Staff
Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., demonstrated her support for the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Wednesday, April 14.
The hearing was aimed at providing members of Congress who are not on the T&I Committee to provide their input regarding transportation issues.
Craig, who joined Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., to sponsor a bill geared toward adding truck parking capacity, spent some of her testimony advocating for the legislation.
“The (highway) bill should incorporate provisions of my Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, HR2187, to address the shortage of parking for commercial motor vehicles to improve the safety of commercial motor vehicle drivers.”
In cooperation with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the bill was drafted to allocate $755 million to adding truck parking spaces over five years.
As of April 14, the bill already had 14 co-sponsors.
The issue also has been a hot topic at recent transportation hearings.
At a Senate hearing on March 24, the executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission said that the lack of truck parking is a “serious problem.”
“Most interstate commerce corridors in our region suffer from truck parking shortages, with this shortage forecast to worsen in the future,” Douglas Hooker testified. “To support the nation’s interstate commerce, the trucking industry needs safe and accessible parking. We ask that you keep these critical truck parking considerations on the agenda for your committee. Safe and accessible truck parking is not just a local issue. The needs cross state boundaries. A national program is needed that focuses on interstate commerce corridors and addresses the unmet needs for safe and accessible truck parking.”
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., also spoke up on the issue and asked Hooker to spread the message about the truck parking crisis.
The following day at a House T&I Committee hearing, Bost addressed the issue to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Truck size and weight
Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., pushed for an inclusion of a pilot program that would allow a limited number of states to permit operation of vehicles weighing up to 91,000 pounds gross vehicle weight with six axles on federal interstates.
Bishop contended that the pilot program would increase safety on roads and help mitigate climate pollution.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, along with more than a dozen other organizations, are working to thwart efforts to allow heavier or longer trucks.
In March, the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, which includes OOIDA, told committee leaders in the House and Senate that allowing longer or heavier trucks would only make the nation’s infrastructure problem worse.
“U.S. DOT studied the impact of various longer and heavier truck configurations on the National Highway System and found that the additional cost of the damage to both roads and bridges would add billions of dollars to our already strained system,” the coalition wrote to the leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee, and the Senate committees on Environment and Public Works, and Commerce, Science and Transportation. LL