The U.S. Department of Transportation gathered industry, state and federal agencies recently for a meeting of the National Coalition of Truck Parking.
The meeting focused on federal resources to address the nation’s truck parking shortage, which puts all road users at risk and is costing truck drivers time and money.
At the meeting, 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 the new and expanded funding resources that are eligible for truck parking projects to make the United States’ freight system safer and more efficient. This meeting builds on the commitments of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Trucking Action Plan, focused on creating a stable and safe trucking workforce that offers good-paying jobs to millions of truck drivers.
Secretary Pete Buttigieg has heard directly from truck drivers and industry partners that the availability of truck parking is a top concern for drivers. 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,” said Secretary Buttigieg.“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.”
Reflecting on the concerns of drivers and industry partners, expanding truck parking is a priority for DOT. Earlier this month, for the first time ever, DOT announced significant investments to expand our nation’s truck parking capacity on the interstate system through the INFRA program. These first-of-its-kind investments included $15 million to add approximately 120 new truck parking spaces along the critical 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, Tennessee. These projects will improve safety, freight operations, and make freight transportation more sustainable. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 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. 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,” said FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson. “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.”
Additionally, DOT has updated guidance on the sources of federal funding that are eligible for States interested in making further investments in truck parking. States and other government entities can apply for grants or prioritize formula funding for capacity projects from over $47.4 billion in eight programs.
“Truck parking is a safety issue – both for truck drivers and all other road users, which is why FHWA has updated our guidance to ensure there is no question about eligibility for truck parking projects in new formula and discretionary grant programs authorized under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said FHWA Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “This new information will help states, localities and other eligible entities identify eligible formula funding sources and apply for discretionary grants to fund truck parking projects that not only support the increased demand for truck deliveries and strengthen our supply chains, but also provide safe truck parking, which is critical to protect the truck drivers we rely on, as well as the traveling public.”