More than 900 new truck parking spots will be built at multiple sites along Interstate 4 in Central Florida with funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Transportation Department announced Thursday.
The $180 million headed to the Sunshine State is among nearly $5 billion in grants awarded to transportation projects around the country — hundreds of millions of it for truck parking. The money comes from the longstanding Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program, which received a more than 50% funding increase from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
"One parking spot for 13 drivers is just simply not adequate," American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear told Trucking Dive in an interview Friday. "They're spending up to an hour a day looking for a spot. That's nearly $5,500 on average a year in lost wages. This is something that our federal government and states have to focus on."
The truck parking projects include a new multimodal facility at Lehigh Valley International Airport and an initiative to provide real-time truck parking visibility along Interstate 5 on the West Coast, which Allison Dane Camden worked on before heading the federal government’s new multimodal freight office.
“I often hear directly from truck drivers on the serious challenge of finding safe parking, and today, we are answering those concerns with more action,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “This major investment from President Biden’s infrastructure law will build new truck parking facilities and create smart systems to give drivers better information about available spots."
Hundreds of truck spots in Central Florida
Grant: $180 million to the Florida Department of Transportation
Locations: Interstate 4 in Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties
Central Florida will get not only new parking but also electric vehicle hookups at the four locations along Interstate 4 with the largest of the truck parking-geared grants.
Florida Trucking Association President and CEO Alix Miller told Trucking Dive in an email that the I-4 corridor in District 5 has the highest unmet truck parking demand in the state, with only 36 existing spaces, despite being one of Florida’s busiest freight routes.
“Drivers have no choice but to park illegally for their federally mandated rest period, or if they are tired and need to stop,” Miller wrote. “This INFRA grant will make our professional truck drivers; other motorists on our road; and our roads, safer.”
New lots, highway upgrades in Missouri
Grant: $92.9 million to the Missouri Department of Transportation
Locations: Interstate 70 in Jefferson, Saline, Howard, Cooper, Callaway, Boone, Pettis, Warren, Lincoln and Montgomery counties
New truck parking is one of several improvements coming to I-70 in Missouri.
The funding, which includes workforce programs for disadvantaged communities, will reconstruct several segments of the highway and add truck parking information systems, wildlife crossing and pollinator habitat conservation, as well as other enhancements.
“The project will address major safety issues, reducing potential crashes by up to 42 percent and providing new dedicated truck parking facilities to reduce the need for unauthorized parking,” the federal Department of Transportation said in an emailed fact sheet.
Parking, better access at airport in Pennsylvania
$40.8 million to the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority
Location: Lehigh Valley International Airport
A new consolidated multimodal cargo facility at the Lehigh Valley airport will provide dedicated truck parking as “an alternative to the current practice of parking off-site in unauthorized nearby locations.”
The project will include a dedicated access road and intersection improvements, a cargo building, an area for direct truck-to-aircraft loading operations, and stormwater infrastructure enhancements.
“The project is an alternative to congested air cargo hubs in Philadelphia or New York/New Jersey, and will serve express carriers by providing specialized facilities for time-sensitive package processing and decreasing travel time from the existing cargo facility to the aircraft operations area by approximately 15 minutes,” the fact sheet said.
AI-powered parking visibility program on the West Coast
Grant: $12.3 million to the Washington State Department of Transportation (in partnership with Oregon and California)
Locations: Interstate 5 in Washington, Oregon and California
The I-5 Truck Parking Information Management System got federal funding to extend down the I-5 corridor to provide drivers with better visibility of available parking along most of the West Coast.
It aims to display real-time truck parking availability information for 13 safety rest areas and six weigh stations near the interstate. Drivers will have four ways to get parking information, according to the fact sheet:
- a website/mobile application
- an application program interface
- an in-cab system
- dynamic parking availability signs
It was already clear the multi-state project had risen to the federal government’s radar. Camden, who was involved with it as a WSDOT official, was appointed in November to lead the newly created federal Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy as deputy assistant secretary.
Dozens of spaces and an ADA-compliant facility in Wisconsin
Grant: $8 million to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Location: Interstate 90 westbound near Sparta, Wisconsin
The I-90 Westbound Safety Rest Area project will add about 50 new truck spots, re-pave parking lots and add an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant restroom at a public rest area.
The project will increase the rest area’s parking capacity to about 70 spots to meet overloaded demand at the facility, according to the federal DOT. The state estimates more than 150 trucks per day are unable to park at the rest stop and must drive an average of almost an hour looking for alternatives.
The site will integrate with the regional Truck Parking Information Management System that displays truck parking availability at WisDOT-owned rest areas.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a comment from the ATA President and CEO Chris Spear.