Another senator is throwing his support behind a bill aimed at improving highway safety by providing access to truck parking.
On April 17, Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., announced he had joined as a co-sponsor of the bipartisan Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. If approved, S1034 would allocate $755 million in grant funding over a three-year span, from 2024 through 2026, to expand truck parking.
“Truck drivers are a critical link in our nation’s supply chain, and their continued safety on the road is integral to the overall success of America’s freight transportation system,” Cramer said in a statement. “Too often, drivers do not have access to safe parking to rest following a long shift. Our bill authorizes funding to increase truck parking capacity so safe parking options exist for all drivers.”
Funding from the bill – which will be provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation – is intended to support the construction of new facilities across the country, as well as fund the conversion of existing weigh stations and rest areas into parking spaces for truckers. According to the bill text, any project funded by the bill cannot include paid parking. All parking created under the bill must be accessible to the public and free of charge.
George Gray, a company driver from Rugby, N.D., and life member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, says he appreciates lawmakers recognizing the importance of truck parking.
“Sen. Cramer’s support for the bipartisan Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act is great news for North Dakota truckers. Far too often, truckers struggle to find safe places to park when hauling freight across the country. … I am extremely grateful that Sen. Cramer heard the concerns professional drivers raised about the lack of truck parking and stepped up to be a part of the solution by co-sponsoring S1034,” Gray said.
Cramer becomes the fourth senator to co-sponsor the bill. Other co-sponsors include:
- John Boozman, R-Ark.
- Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.
- Jon Tester, D-Mont.
The house version of the bill, HR2367, is also continuing to garner support. On April 26, Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL-16) and Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.-11) signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. Rep. Marcus Molinaro, R-N.Y., signed on to the bill on April 20.
With the addition of LaHood, Malliotakis and Maolinaro, the bill now has 16 co-sponsors, including:
- Brian Babin, R-Texas
- Angie Craig, D-Minn.
- Eric Crawford, R-Ark.
- John Garamendi, D-Calif.
- Lance Gooden, R-Texas
- Dusty Johnson, R-S.D.
- Nancy Mace, R-S.C.
- Daniel Meuser, R-Pa.
- Troy Nehls, R-Texas
- Katie Porter, D-Calif.
- Pete Stauber, R-Minn.
- Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.
- Dina Titus, D-Nev.
The pair of bills were first introduced on March 29, by U.S. Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., and U.S. Reps. Mike Bost, R-Ill., and Angie Craig, D-Minn. At that time, OOIDA President Todd Spencer applauded lawmakers for working to resolve a significant issue in the industry.
“Most folks probably don’t realize that 70% of American freight is transported by truck, yet incredibly there is only one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road,” Spencer said in a statement. “When truck drivers don’t have a designated place to park, they end up parking on the side of the road, near exit ramps, or elsewhere. This isn’t safe for the driver, and it’s not safe for others on the road. Sen. Lummis, Sen. Kelly, Rep. Bost, and Rep. Craig have heard from small business truckers across America and are leading the charge in Congress to improve road safety through expanded truck parking.”
To help educate lawmakers, government officials and other stakeholders about the truck parking crisis, the Association has created a truck parking information webpage. The site contains facts and information about truck parking, along with a link that gives drivers and stakeholders the ability to quickly and easily contact their federal lawmakers and tell them to co-sponsor the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. LL