WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and U.S. Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) have reintroduced the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow grant recipients to partner with private truck parking providers to expand truck parking capacity nationwide.
The bill would designate $755 million over the next three years for states, local governments and metropolitan planning organizations to implement truck parking, according to the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO).
Grant recipients — such as state transportation departments, metropolitan planning organizations and local governments — could utilize the act's dedicated funds to put in commercial truck parking adjacent to private commercial truck stops or travel plazas. Travel centers in particular would benefit, as they can provide all of the amenities that truck drivers need while traveling long distance, including food, fuel, showers and a place to rest, NATSO said.
"Representatives Bost and Craig and Senators Kelly and Lummis have worked diligently to advance opportunities to expand the number of commercial truck parking spaces for America's truck drivers," said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. "Allowing grant recipients to harness the collective expertise that private travel centers can provide affords an opportunity to maximize federal funds and increase truck parking capacity along those freight corridors where it may be needed."
The act would prioritize grant applications that demonstrate consultation with private providers of truck parking as well as a demonstrated shortage of commercial vehicle parking, while funds would be prohibited from building out electric vehicle charging infrastructure. However, the measure would not commercialize rest areas, which NATSO commended, as they believe commercialization would likely decrease, not increase, truck parking capacity.
With more than 5,000 interstate truck stops and travel centers providing 90 percent of the truck parking capacity in the United States, both would play a key role in addressing any state concerns over truck parking capacity, and as such, NATSO is urging Congress to quickly advance the bill.
Headquartered just outside Washington, D.C., NATSO is the only national trade association representing the travel plaza and truck stop industry. It represents more than 2,200 travel centers and truck stops nationwide, owned by over 230 corporate entities representing more than 16,000 fueling locations.