Rep. Rick Crawford Talks Truck Parking, IIJA Oversight

Rep. Rick Crawford Talks Truck Parking, IIJA Oversight

Rep. Rick Crawford at a previous listening to. (Al Drago/Bloomberg Information)

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The probability of Congress advancing parking-centric laws meant to help truck drivers within the nation is rising.

Not surprisingly, for the reason that begin of the yr, transportation policymakers within the Home and the Senate have proposed funding applications aimed toward increasing parking entry throughout the business transportation sector. The newest legislative push is a continuation of unsuccessful efforts in earlier classes of Congress.

The Highways and Transit Subcommittee, managed by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), might be central to advancing any sort of trucking-related parking treatment. As chairman of the subcommittee, he insists the oversight of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Funding and Jobs Act might be a prime precedence. Nevertheless, along with sturdy oversight, Crawford expressed optimism about arriving at a measure that may reply to the trade’s longstanding concern. His GOP caucus is managing the chamber, key Democrats are displaying bipartisanship and the Biden administration indicated it acknowledges issues associated to an absence of truck parking.

Throughout a wide-ranging interview with Transport Matters on March 29, Crawford argued addressing the truck parking matter would enhance provide chain connectivity and help with workforce recruitment and retention because the trade grapples with a driver scarcity. As he put it, “Our provide chain, when it really works, is a factor of magnificence. However it’s fragile and it’s notably true within the trucking trade.”

“We’ve seen the motive force scarcity enhance in a three-year span to now topping 80,000. We’re seeing an growing older out of the driving power within the trucking trade. So we’re open to concepts on how we deal with that,” he continued. “You gotta have places for [truckers] to have the ability to relaxation. And as a substitute of addressing the scarcity of parking, [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] was extra involved about electrical charging stations, which is simply utterly and completely not indicated for the trucking trade proper now.”

Within the coming weeks, the subcommittee plans to fulfill for a listening to particular to trucking trade insurance policies and laws. Final month, Home and Senate policymakers launched variations of the Truck Parking Security Enchancment Act. Sponsored by Reps. Mike Bost (R-In poor health.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.) within the Home, the laws would authorize $755 million in aggressive grants to develop entry and help with enhancements to current parking areas for business automobiles. Earlier than that, Home lawmakers launched the same proposal.

American Trucking Associations is endorsing the measure. “The dearth of secure and accessible truck parking locations an infinite and dear burden on our nation’s truck drivers as they work to ship for the American folks,” mentioned ATA President Chris Spear. “Given the power nature of this problem and its nationwide scope, it’s crucial Congress takes motion to offer devoted funding to develop business truck parking capability.” ATA decided the trucking workforce is brief about 78,000 drivers.

The American Transportation Analysis Institute categorised insufficient entry to parking as third on its “Important Points within the Trucking Trade” in 2022.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has raised the profile of parking wants for the ladies and men who function business automobiles. At a latest Senate listening to, Buttigieg pointed to the Division of Transportation’s efforts to collaborate with businesses for including parking services. “I utterly agree with the significance of this problem,” mentioned the secretary earlier than the Senate panel. “Once you speak with truck drivers it’s one of many first issues that they’ll elevate. And it’s not only a matter of comfort. It’s actually a matter of security.”

Crawford mentioned he welcomes bipartisanship on the difficulty, Nevertheless, the secretary’s response to latest nationwide transportation-related crises has raised alarms for the senior lawmaker. Particularly, he referenced Buttigieg’s response to a freight practice derailment earlier this yr in East Palestine, Ohio. Affirming the secretary has “actually carried out very poorly,” Crawford went on, “We are able to’t get our secretary of transportation to show any diploma of caring or compassion about what was happening there. That’s only one instance.”

“I can inform you with out reservation, I believe, he’s, in my tenure, he’s been the poorest performing secretary that I can recall,” Crawford emphasised additional.

Relating to the derailment in Ohio of a Norfolk Southern practice, Buttigieg visited the world and the U.S. Division of Transportation proceeded with investigations and security directives designed to help businesses. The Nationwide Transportation Security Board is also persevering with with an in-depth examination of the derailment.

Because the subcommittee maintains a give attention to evaluating IIJA’s multiyear implementation, questions on funding and the federal funds are being raised. Stress is mounting for Congress to lift the nation’s borrowing authority, or debt restrict, by early June, or sooner. Crawford expects his Republican colleagues to maintain sounding the alarm over spending priorities promoted by the Biden White Home. He noticed, “The president is unyielding on the debt restrict with regard to entertaining any sort of cuts in alternate for elevating the debt restrict.”

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