A new bill which has been proposed in Congress could put $755 million in federal money toward creating additional safe truck parking all across the country… at no cost to drivers.
H.R. 6104 is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Mike Bost (R-Illinois) and Angie Craig (D-Minnesota). The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was introduced on Thursday. If enacted, it would allocate $755 million over the next five years to create new parking spaces for commercial trucks. New parking areas could either be built from scratch, or the money can be used to expand or convert existing weigh stations and rest stops to allow for more safe truck parking.
No new money would be added to the DOT budget to make up for the spending. Instead, the funds would come out of existing U.S. DOT programs and put them toward this grant system.
The federal government would not be involved in building or maintaining the new parking spaces. Instead, the other groups can apply for federal funding for projects that would add truck parking capacity where it’s needed. Applicants can include states, public agencies, city planning authorities and local governments.
According to the bill, in order to be eligible to receive funds, projects would need to meet certain criteria. Projects would need to add parking capacity by building a new rest area, adding truck parking to existing parking areas such as private travel centers and public parking areas, or converting weigh stations and rest areas to accommodate truck parking. Additionally, all new parking spaces created would need to be free.
“The national truck parking crisis is also a national highway safety crisis,” said Todd Spencer, president and CEO of OOIDA – which helped develop the bill. “Truckers don’t want to park on the side of the road. It creates a hazard to them and the motoring public. But sometimes there’s literally no other option. This bill has the potential to generate much more truck parking capacity, and every member of Congress should support it.”
It’s a long road ahead for more safe truck parking though. Before the money can be released, the bill will have to go through the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the House, the Senate, and finally the president.