Truck parking crisis considered contributor to supply chain woes

November 18, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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The lack of truck parking has been well documented, and it is time to do something about it.

That was the message from Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, during the Nov. 17 House Transportation & Infrastructure hearing titled, “Industry and Labor Perspectives: A Further Look at North American Supply Chain Challenges.”

Babin, a former truck driver, cited the original Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey from 2013 and suggested that another survey will not solve the problem.

“Truckers all across my district tell me all the time that they are sick of studies and reports that all draw the same conclusion – that there is a truck parking crisis in America,” he said.

Babin then asked American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear if another survey would be the best use of government resources to solve the nation’s truck parking problem.

“We know the problem, Congressman,” Spear said. “You outlined it very well. We have 3.5 million truck drivers in this country. That’s our number, and it’s a valid number. And you have 313,000 truck parking spaces nationally, and that’s according to the report you just cited. Do the math, and for every 11 truck drivers there is one truck parking space. That’s a problem.”

It’s a problem that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been calling attention to for years.

OOIDA helped get a provision that would have dedicated $1 billion to truck parking capacity in the House version of the highway bill. That bill, however, died in the Senate and the bill that was ultimately signed into law by President Joe Biden on Nov. 15 did not commit any money to truck parking.

OOIDA and ATA are now both calling for the U.S. Department of Transportation to use discretionary funds to address the lack of truck parking.

“You can drive just north of D.C. here on I-95 and find multiple trucks parked on the shoulders,” Spear said during the hearing. “It’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to them. It’s dangerous to the motoring public.

“I sure hope that they are looking at this problem and allocating some money for this problem. It really is a crisis and something we’ve got to solve.”

OOIDA also informed lawmakers about the problem in a letter sent on Nov. 16. The letter, which gave the truck driver perspective on the supply chain, was submitted into the hearing’s record on Nov. 17.

The Association used the letter to call attention to such problems as detention time and the lack of truck parking.

“Finding a safe place to park is something most people take for granted, but it’s a daily struggle for hundreds of thousands of long-haul truck drivers,” OOIDA wrote in the letter signed by President Todd Spencer.

The lack of truck parking means that truckers spend more time searching for a place to stop rather than using the allotted time hauling freight. OOIDA said it is a safety issue and a contributor to the lack of efficiency in the supply chain.

“Truckers are particularly frustrated that Congress has authorized hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment in 2021 without a single dollar being devoted exclusively for the expansion of truck parking capacity,” OOIDA wrote. “After more than a decade of pushing for necessary federal investment in building capacity, the failure by Congress to do so has only exacerbated inefficiencies in the supply chain, contributing to today’s significant disruptions.” LL

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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.