The U.S. Department of Transportation hosted its meeting of the National Coalition on Truck Parking Sept. 30 to share resources for state departments of transportation seeking to expand their truck parking capacity and generate awareness about their ability to use federal infrastructure dollars for truck parking projects.
U.S. DOT unveiled a new guidebook detailing strategies for state DOTs to develop truck parking. Federal officials also issued a memo outlining the funding resources that are eligible for state truck parking projects.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg encouraged state transportation departments to partner with the private sector and several state DOTs shared successful partnerships with the private sector that resulted in an overall increase in truck parking spaces at private facilities.
“We will use every opportunity to educate state and local partners about the eligibility of federal funding for truck parking and recommend states work with private sector truck stop operators and the trucking community in the siting and development of truck parking projects,” Secretary Buttigieg said in a recent letter to the American Trucking Associations and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
NATSO Vice President of Public Affairs Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman expressed appreciation for the Secretary’s commitment to encourage state and local partners to work with truck stop operators in the siting and development of truck parking projects.
To the extent that federal dollars are utilized for truck parking, NATSO thinks that partnering with the private sector is the best way to maximize the use of taxpayer’s money.
Wlazlowski Neuman reminded state transportation department representatives that NATSO members collectively provide 90 percent of all the truck parking in the United States, with more than 5,000 locations fitting the traditional definition of a truck stop and several thousand more that serve truck drivers under a different format. This footprint makes the travel center industry a critical partner in state plans to expand truck parking capacity.
Wlazlowski Neuman addressed the group from Scranton, Pennsylvania, where NATSO member Onvo recently opened two new locations and now provides more than 500 parking spaces at its facilities along the I-81 corridor. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently hosted a separate meeting of the I-81 Corridor Coalition to discuss strategies for expanding truck parking on the I-81 corridor. NATSO continues to participate in state truck parking advisory committee meetings for state DOTs evaluating their truck parking needs.
NATSO worked closely with Congressman Bost to ensure that grant recipients may partner with the private sector to carry out their projects under his Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which was approved out of committee earlier this year.
NATSO reminded states that there are many ways to expand truck parking. Chief among them is exploring ways to lower the private sector’s costs in creating or expanding truck parking capacity, such as through tax incentives or land acquisition and maintenance assistance. NATSO opposes the commercialization of rest areas, which results in fewer truck parking spaces on commercialized corridors.
The Colorado Department of Transportation highlighted a partnership with Love’s Travel Stops whereby the state’s engagement on changes to the interstate exit helped Love’s to add more than 100 new spaces to an existing facility, doubling the number the location was able to implement.
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