OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh and OOIDA Board Member Tilden Curl testified in support of HB1787 at a Washington state House committee hearing on Feb. 15.
The bill, sponsored by seven Washington legislators, centers on the planning and implementation of infrastructure to facilitate the transport and delivery of goods.
Largely, truck parking.
“Truck parking is at crisis level across the United States,” Pugh said during his virtual testimony. “Kudos to Washington state for realizing this is an issue. You have been trendsetters in doing something about it. Parking is key to safe trucking operations. Truckers bring us all the things we need: supplies, food, medicine. If we want these things, we have to deal with trucks.”
The bill will require the establishment of a plan to create commercial truck parking located near interstate highways, ports and other areas in the state that generate significant amounts of commercial truck trips.
Curl, based in Olympia, Wash., commended the legislation for being solution-based.
“This bill addressed not just the problems, but the solutions,” Curl said as part of his in-person testimony. “The lack of truck parking translates to increased costs to every business and consumer. Truck parking spaces need to be provided based on the number of trucks. We have parking space requirements for cars, why not for trucks? Past planners simply failed to consider efficient freight movement in the area.”
Sherri Call, president and CEO of the Washington Trucking Associations, said she feels the state can do better and agreed truck parking is a crisis in Washington, during her testimony.
“I feel we can do better,” Call said. “We need to provide considerations for the unsung heroes of our communities, truckers. We appreciate the intent of the bill.”
Testimony in opposition of the bill came from Paul Jewell, policy director Washington Association of Counties, and Candice Bock, director of government relations at the Association of Washington Cities. Those associations agreed truck parking is a problem but contend it needs to be addressed at the state planning level.
Ron Pate, director of the rail, freight and ports division for the Washington State Department of Transportation, countered that stance by testifying that WSDOT has in fact tried to work with local agencies, but to no avail.
“It’s a nationwide issue, and we have a big problem in our state,” Pate said. “It requires local, state and private industry to work together. The state DOT has tried to work with local entities on this. They don’t want the trucks in their community. We really need to find solutions to work together.”
Pugh reiterated the notion of working together.
“It’s up to all of us to work together to get safe parking for truckers,” Pugh said. “To have a safe place to rest or sleep, everybody deserves that.”
HB1787 remains in committee. LL