The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is asking U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to dedicate $1 billion of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to more truck parking.
“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,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said in a letter to Buttigieg on Nov.29. “This creates safety issues not only for truckers, but for the motoring public as well.”
According to the letter, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and numerous states who have studied the issue have concluded there is a shortage of parking. And, according to a USDOT survey released last year, the problem will only continue to worsen.
“We are well past the time for more studies and observations,” Spencer continued in the letter. “Instead, it is time to take meaningful steps to expand truck parking capacity, and that begins with significant federal investment. 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.”
There is broad, bipartisan support in Congress and from industry professionals for funding more truck parking, according to the letter. And in a time where politicians and supply chain leaders are trying to boost driver retention, parking could be part of the solution, Spencer said.
“You have spoken about the need to make truck driving a more viable and sustainable career for those entering the industry and the countless Americans already making their living behind the wheel,” Spencer said to Buttigieg. “You’ve recognized firsthand that the mythical shortage of drivers is tied directly to retention. 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,” Spencer concluded. “We can and should do better by these absolutely and always essential workers.”
You can read the full letter here.
Story courtesy of trucker.com.