In a letter Monday, Nov. 29, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association asked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to allocate $1 billion to build truck parking.
In the letter signed by OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer, the association appealed to Buttigieg use money from the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act "to address a safety crisis that America’s truckers have faced for decades – the national shortage of truck parking."
The letter also said the creation of more truck parking would also help address the problem of drivers leaving the industry and the ongoing supply chain problems casting a pall over the holiday shopping season.
"Truckers need a safe place to rest when they’re tired and to comply with mandatory breaks required by federal regulations," said the OOIDA letter. "If truck drivers can’t find a safe and legal parking space, they are forced to park in unsafe locations, such as road shoulders or vacant lots, or continue driving when they may want to take a break or are in violation of hours-of-service requirements. This creates safety issues not only for truckers but for the motoring public as well."
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In his letter, Spencer also expressed the association's unhappiness that the $1.2 trillion infrastructure legislation did not include money for truck parking. The House version of the bill did, but it was not included in the final version passed in the Senate and signed by President Biden.
"We are extremely disappointed that the IIJA does not dedicate any funding exclusively to truck parking, despite the broad bipartisan and industry support for federal investment," the OOIDA told Buttigieg. "With the significant amount of new discretionary funding your department will be responsible for allocating under the IIJA, we believe that you have the ability to direct funding to critical truck parking projects across the country."
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In closing, Spencer said, "Truckers consistently rank the lack of truck parking as one of their top concerns, and there are few better ways you could improve their safety and livelihoods than by addressing the parking crisis. It should not be a shock to anyone that good drivers leave the trucking industry over the inability to find something as basic as a safe place to rest when they are weary. We can and should do better by these absolutely and always essential workers."