The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is providing a substantial $292 million in federal grants to target a critical issue for truckers nationwide – insufficient semi-truck parking spaces.
The investment, part of President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is funding four major projects that will bolster parking infrastructure across some of the country's busiest freight corridors:
- Florida is receiving the largest portion, with $180 million allocated for over 900 new parking spots along Interstate 4.
- Missouri's Department of Transportation has been awarded $92 million for improvements along Interstate 70.
- Wisconsin DOT is set to reconstruct a rest area on I-90, increasing parking spots from 16 to 70 with an $8 million grant.
- Finally, the Washington State DOT is tackling information and access with a $12 million investment in a regional truck parking information management system across three states on the Interstate 5 corridor.
Why it matters: With only one parking spot for every 11 tractor-trailers and past COVID-19 mandating rest area shutdowns, truckers have been left with few options but to park on the road's shoulder, risking safety and efficiency. The lack of safe parking has been a top concern among drivers as well as the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
"The severe shortage of truck parking continues to rank among drivers' highest concerns," stated ATA President Chris Spear, emphasizing the myriad benefits such as reducing supply chain bottlenecks and improved safety for all road users.
By the numbers: Goods movement depends heavily on truck drivers, and the availability of safe, accessible parking is a linchpin in their ability to comply with federally mandated rest times and prevent fatigued driving.
Driving the news: This move comes after demand for truck parking has exceeded capacity by as much as 150% in certain areas, according to FDOT, and follows a previous $80 million grant announced in September 2023 for related issues.
Big picture: Advocacy groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have been pushing for solutions to this decades-long dilemma, and the recent funding reflects a response to their calls for action.
OOIDA President Todd Spencer expressed gratitude for the increased focus on this pivotal issue, highlighting the “no-win situation” truckers face without adequate parking.
What’s next: The implementation of these projects is a key step toward addressing the parking crisis, providing some relief to truckers, and ultimately ensuring the steady flow of America's over-the-road commerce.