The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is calling on the U.S. government to dedicate $1 billion in infrastructure funding to address a national shortage of truck parking.
In a letter on Monday to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, OOIDA president and CEO Todd Spencer said the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act represents an opportunity to do that.
“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,” he said. “This creates safety issues not only for truckers, but for the motoring public as well.”
The letter cites a Jason’s Law Survey in December 2020 that found parking shortages are a major problem in every state and region. And while the infrastructure act highlights states that will assess the issue, Spencer said that falls short.
“We are well past the time for more studies and observations. Instead, it is time to take meaningful steps to expand truck parking capacity, and that begins with significant federal investment.”
The proposed $1-billion investment has significant bipartisan support in Congress and from the industry, he added. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio included $1 billion for truck parking construction in the House-passed highway bill, the INVEST in America Act. Ranking Member Sam Graves also addressed truck parking in the Build Back Better Bill.
Truck drivers spend an average 56 minutes of their daily driving time in the search for parking, Spencer said.
The OOIDA chief even referred to a presentation by MIT professor David Correll, who recently testified that adding just 18 minutes of driving time to working days would address the driver shortage.
“While we know there is no shortage of drivers, this shows that the time wasted finding parking directly affects the current [supply chain] disruptions,” he said.
“Unfortunately, hardly any federal funding has been dedicated to this problem because states have never recognized how serious this issue is to highway safety and the overall efficiency of our nation’s supply chain.”