Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House of Representatives Tuesday addresses several trucking industry concerns, including recruiting and retaining drivers, providing more truck parking, and relaxing hours of service provisions for livestock haulers and during times of emergencies.
U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Jim Costa (D-CA) introduced what the two are calling "a sweeping overhaul of the interstate trucking supply chain system." The Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act "increases safety and shipping capacity for truckers; provides recruitment and retention incentives for drivers; and includes flexibility during times of emergencies or black swan events," according to a statement from the congressmen.
A key provision of the bill is a temporary $7,500 text credit for eligible truck drivers who logged at least 1,900 hours of on-duty time and whose adjusted gross income for the taxable year does not exceed $135,000 jointly; $112,500 as head of household; or $90,000 individually. New drivers – defined as someone "who did not drive a commercial truck in the course of a trade or business during the preceding taxable year" – are eligible for a $10,000 tax credit.
It also allows drivers to apply for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grants for tuition, fees and other costs of entry-level driver training provided by a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-registered trainer. The grant could be extended to include other education and training costs, including the cost of course materials, supplies, technology, and fees for graduation, licensure, or certification.
Also included in the bill is $755 million over the next four years to expand truck parking.
The two congressmen said their bill streamlines the CDL process, making it easier for states and third parties to administer CDL tests.
“Disruptions in our trucking supply chain continue to drive up costs and create uncertainty for American consumers and producers,” said Costa. “We need to recruit, train, and retain truck drivers to keep our supply chain moving, while also updating best practices to improve trucking to fit our modern economy. That is why we introduced this bipartisan legislation to strengthen the workforce and make it easier to move products across the country.”