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A House committee approved a bipartisan bill that would authorize spending for truck parking to address concerns about a shortage.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved legislation (H.R. 2187) by voice vote Wednesday that would authorize $755 million over four years for competitive grants for projects that provide more parking for trucks and improve safety. Drivers say crowded truck stops have forced them to spend hours looking for parking — and sometimes only finding unsafe spots.
Truckers are required to follow federal hours-of-service regulations, which set limits on how long they can drive in any given period. Compliance can be difficult when truckers can’t find a spot to park, sometimes leading them to stop in illegal locations or violate regulations.
Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) introduced the legislation last year, as a pandemic-related uptick in online shopping deliveries and strain on the supply chain put truckers in the spotlight. A spokesperson for Bost said the bill is ideal to be considered under suspension of the rules — an expedited procedure for House floor votes on noncontroversial bills — because it has bipartisan support and endorsements from the trucking industry and road safety groups.
“Our nation’s truckers have worked around the clock over the past few years to keep store shelves stocked during a pandemic and supply chain crisis,” Bost said in a statement to Bloomberg Government. “But in order to do their jobs, they must have somewhere safe to park. It is critical that we get this legislation passed as soon as possible so that we can address this issue and keep our roads safe for all drivers.”
Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said he hopes lawmakers can pass the bill out of the House unanimously in the near future and that it will get favorable attention in the Senate. He said it could go into an omnibus funding bill.
The trucking industry has pushed for more parking for years. Major trucking groups wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg earlier this year about a nationwide shortage, pointing to data that shows there was one truck parking space for every 11 drivers.
The groups have also urged the department to prioritize grants for truck parking in implementing the infrastructure law (Public Law 117-58), which didn’t include dedicated set-aside funds for the issue.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lillianna Byington in Washington at email@example.com