Independent owner-operators took congressional Democrats to task for failing to fund expanded truck parking in the $3.5 trillion federal spending bill.
In marking up its portion of the legislation on Tuesday, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee voted down an amendment offered by Mike Bost, R-Ill., that would have provided $1 billion over the next five years for truck parking projects.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which has been pushing hard for the legislation the past two years, said the vote-down was ironic given that it happened during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.
“Despite the long history of broad, bipartisan support, numerous government studies and repeated pleas from truck drivers, Democrats on the T&I Committee opposed efforts to address trucking’s number one safety concern: the lack of safe parking,” commented OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer. “Truckers likely face another five years of a worsening crisis that jeopardizes their safety on a daily basis.”
Spencer said that addressing the parking shortage also supports efforts to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector — a major goal of the legislation — by noting that truck drivers waste approximately 56 minutes per day looking for parking while needlessly burning fuel.
“It’s tough to swallow the fact that in a year when Congress is authorizing hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure projects and highway safety programs, not a single penny was set aside for truck parking,” he added.
The defeat marked the second time in five weeks that Congress chose to pass on truck parking funding. A similar amendment failed to make it into the bipartisan, $1.2 trillion so-called “hard infrastructure” package passed by the Senate in August.
The lack of traction in Congress contrasts with stated efforts by the Biden administration to tackle the problem. Last month a federal advisory panel urged the Commerce Department to address truck parking shortage and related safety concerns.
Despite the loss for truck parking in the reconciliation bill, the House T&I Committee’s 15-hour markup session did result in nearly $60 billion aimed at cutting pollution and promoting transportation projects, including:
- $6 billion to advance local surface transportation projects.
- $4 billion for reduction of carbon pollution in the surface transportation sector.
- $2.5 billion to the Federal Maritime Administration to support more sustainable port infrastructure and supply chain resilience.
- $1 billion to the Department of Transportation to support projects that develop, demonstrate or apply low-emission technologies or produce, transport, blend or store sustainable aviation fuels.
- $1 billion for climate-resilient Coast Guard infrastructure.
- Minneapolis goes ahead and enacts sweeping truck parking restrictions
- ‘Missed opportunity’ to fund truck parking in COVID relief package
- Not in my backyard! Truck parking’s NIMBY risk