USA : The House Transportation committee approved $755 million truck parking bill

Legislation aimed at expanding truck parking facilities throughout the U.S. was approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday and will advance to the House floor.

The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act provides $755 million in competitive grants over four years (2023-2026) to expand truck parking capacity.

The legislation was introduced in March 2021 by U.S. Reps. Mike Bost, R-Ill., and Angie Craig, D-Minn. Similar legislation had been offered as an amendment in the House version of the infrastructure bill last year but did not make it into the final package Congress passed.

“This is long overdue,” said committee chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., during the bill’s markup Wednesday. “It’s one solution to try to make the lives of drivers safer and less stressful and perhaps allow for more [driver] retention. This will really help improve the efficiency of trucking.”

DeFazio added he hopes the bill receives “favorable attention” in the Senate.

“It may be something that goes into the year-end omnibus [spending bill],” he said. “I hope we can pass it out of the House unanimously when we come back after the August break.”

Both the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association championed the legislation in a joint letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in February.

“The availability of safe and secure truck parking is not just a challenge for current drivers, it is a barrier our industry must overcome in attracting new drivers — particularly women,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said Wednesday. “Solving it won’t just help today’s industry. It will go a long way toward helping trucking recruit and attract a more diverse workforce.”

Projects eligible for funding include building additional parking capacity adjacent to private commercial truck stops and travel plazas; within the boundaries of or adjacent to a publicly owned freight facility, including a port terminal a public authority operates; and at existing facilities, including inspection and weigh stations and park-and-ride locations.

The original bill was amended Wednesday to ensure funds cannot be used for electric vehicles or EV charging.

By John Gallagher