The U.S. Department of Transportation last week brought together state, industry and federal leaders at a meeting of the National Coalition of Truck Parking to share resources available in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address the nation’s truck parking shortage.
At the meeting, which was open to the public in virtual format, DOT shared a new handbook for states that details strategies for developing truck parking and best practices on designing and constructing new truck parking. Officials also discussed new and expanded funding resources that are eligible for truck parking projects.
According to DOT, the meeting built on the commitments of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Trucking Action Plan, which addressed driver recruiting and other issues.
Truck parking has been one of the top issues brought to DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg during his tenure. The American Trucking Associations and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wrote a letter to DOT earlier this year citing that 98 percent of drivers report problems finding safe parking, costing drivers more than 56 minutes of drive-time to find parking. That wasted time is estimated to cause a $5,500 loss in annual compensation — roughly a 12 percent pay cut.
“I’ve heard from countless truckers across the country about how the shortage of truck parking costs them time and money -- not to mention making our roads less safe and weakening our supply chains,” Buttigieg said. “We’re using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help address truck parking shortages, and we’re working with state and industry leaders to develop more parking that will improve safety and quality of life for our nation’s truck drivers.”
DOT touted recent investments in truck parking through the INFRA program, which included $15 million to add approximately 120 new truck parking spaces along the I-4 corridor in Florida between Tampa and Orlando and a $22.6 million investment to add approximately 125 spaces along I-40 east of Nashville. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also awarded $1.4 million in grant funding to Montana and Kentucky to improve truck parking through its High Priority Innovative Technology Deployment grants.
“One of the leading causes of truck crashes is driver fatigue,” said FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson. “It is clear that adequate rest for drivers is foundational for safe operations. We have heard loud and clear from drivers -- they need more places to rest, and they need to be safe and secure while doing so. We are proactively working at the local and regional level to point to the numerous resources across DOT for truck parking construction, expansion, and technology solutions, and we will continue to work collaboratively with agencies within DOT and with all of our partners in the industry.”