The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association announced this month its support of a bipartisan Senate bill that would invest hundreds of millions of federal dollars in truck parking.
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, introduced by U.S. Sens. Cynthia Lummis, a Wyoming Republican, and Mark Kelly, an Arizona Democrat, seeks to address a shortage of safe parking that OOIDA says has worsened in recent years to just one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road.
OOIDA President Todd Spencer described the lack of truck parking as a crisis that has been building for decades. “When truck drivers don’t have a designated place to park, they end up parking on the side of the road, near exit ramps, or elsewhere,” he said. “This isn’t safe for the driver and it’s not safe for others on the road.”
The Senate bill is similar to legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Mike Bost, an Illinois Republican, and Angie Craig, a Minnesota Democrat, in the House of Representatives earlier this session. That bill cleared the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in July.
The bills seek to help truck parking capacity catch up with the growing number of trucks on the road in recent years. The current lack of parking forces truck drivers to spend an average of one hour per day searching for safe parking, according to OOIDA.
The legislative efforts build on investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, such as $40 million for hundreds of new truck parking spaces in Florida and Tennessee, along with tech to help drivers find open spaces.
Funding would be awarded through a competitive process requiring applicants to submit detailed proposals to the Department of Transportation on the construction of new truck parking facilities and the conversion of weigh stations and rest areas into truck parking.
Wyoming’s three major interstates carry thousands of tons of cargo daily, and the lack of safe truck parking puts the state’s truck and other vehicle drivers at greater risk for accidents, Lummis said in a statement.
“People in Wyoming are still feeling the impacts of the supply chain crisis, and unreliable truck parking is another contributing factor to that,” Lummis said. “Fixing the parking problem will help ease this burden on consumers.”
Kelly echoed the OOIDA president and his Wyoming Republican colleague in a statement, saying a lack of accessible and reliable truck parking “makes our roads less safe.”
“Our bipartisan legislation will expand freight truck parking to ensure that truck drivers can safely and efficiently move the goods that support our nation’s economy and supply chains,” Kelly said.