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.) on March 29 re-introduced the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which would designate $755 million over three years to expand truck parking capacity.
The bills would designate $175,000,000 for fiscal year 2024; $260,000,000 for fiscal year 2025; and $320,000,000 for fiscal year 2026 for states, local governments and metropolitan planning organizations to implement truck parking.
Of importance to NATSO members, the House and Senate bills would allow grant recipients to partner with the private providers of truck parking and prioritize those grant applications that demonstrate consultation with private providers of truck parking as well as a shortage of commercial vehicle parking. Among the eligible projects, funds may be used to construct additional truck parking adjacent to a private commercial truck stop or travel plaza.
NATSO appreciates that the bills do not call for commercializing rest areas, which would decrease rather than increase truck parking. A study conducted by Safety for the Long-Haul found 70 percent fewer truck parking spaces on corridors with commercialized rest areas when compared with those corridors where the private sector provides truck parking capacity.
Truckstops and travel centers provide 90 percent of the commercial parking in the United States.
Among the selection criteria listed, projects would need to demonstrate a shortage of commercial truck parking capacity in a specific corridor as well as consultation with motor carriers, commercial drivers and private providers of commercial parking. Eligible entities would need to demonstrate the ability to maintain and operate the facility. Grant recipients may not charge a fee for truck parking spaces implemented with the use of grant funds. The measures also prohibits grant funds from being utilized to implement EV charging or other fueling infrastructure.
NATSO issued a statement endorsing the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act stating that it will allow grant recipients to harness the collective expertise that private travel centers can provide, affording an opportunity to maximize federal funds and increase truck parking capacity along those freight corridors where it may be needed.
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