U.S. Representatives Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) introduced legislation that seeks to set aside federal funds for truck parking.
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, HR 6104, would set aside at least $125 million in fiscal 2021 for states, public agencies and local governments to construct commercial parking on the Federal Highway System. The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act requests $140 million in 2022, $150 million in 2023, $165 million in 2024 and $175 million in 2025.
It is currently within every state Department of Transportation’s prerogative to fund additional truck parking capacity with existing federal dollars.
The measure does not call for commercializing rest areas as a means of increasing truck parking capacity. It specifies, however, that states could utilize funds awarded under the program to put in commercial truck parking adjacent to private commercial truckstops or travel plazas.
NATSO has long maintained that the best way to address any truck parking capacity concerns is for motor carriers to negotiate truck parking in their contractual relationships with truckstops and travel plazas.
Because the private sector provides 90 percent of the nation’s commercial truck parking capacity, NATSO also has long advocated for the federal and state Departments of Transportation to remove barriers to private sector investment in truck parking capacity.
NATSO also encourages the exploration of the use of tax incentives or land acquisition assistance for the private sector to build new parking capacity.
HR 6104 would give priority funding to entities that “demonstrate a safety need” and that have consulted with affected state and local governments, trucking organizations, and private providers of commercial motor vehicle parking.
HR 6104 provides funding for the construction of new rest areas and truck parking facilities. Funds also can be utilized to convert existing spaces, including inspection sites, weigh stations and closed rest areas, into truck parking locations.
Eligible entities must agree not to charge for parking constructed with the grant money.
HR 6104 is unlikely to be taken up as a stand-alone measure. However, it could be incorporated into a reauthorization of surface transportation law, which is set to expire in September 2020.
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