The longstanding challenge of finding sufficient parking spaces for large trucks is finally getting a boost in funding from the federal government, as the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced more than $80 million in grant awards, showing a 65% increase in funding for truck parking projects over last year.
The money, which is funded by the $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)) passed in 2021, will be targeted at grant recipients including states, local governments, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions. The goal of the investment is to help reduce the frequency and severity of commercial motor vehicle crashes on our nation’s roadways and to support truck drivers by expanding access to truck parking, investing in critical technology, and improving safety in work zones, rural areas, and high crash corridors, FMCSA said.
FMCSA says the funding follows an additional $80 million investment in new truck parking spaces across the country, including recent projects in Caldwell County, Texas; Caldwell Parish, Louisiana; along I-4 between Tampa and Orlando; and along I-40 near Memphis, Tennessee.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg yesterday joined with the American Trucking Associations (ATA) at an event in Salem, South Dakota, to unveil the new funding. “There are countless ways to thank America’s hardworking truck drivers during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, and today we are doing so by addressing a serious issue that consistently ranks as one of their highest concerns,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in a release. “The funding being announced today will help to alleviate a shortage of truck driving spaces that too often puts drivers in a no-win situation. These projects being funded by the IIJA are an important step in the right direction, and we look forward to continuing to work with USDOT Secretary Buttigieg and FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson to solve this challenge together.”
The latest funds will support projects such as:
• expanding access to truck parking by helping truck drivers locate available rest area truck parking spaces in real time via dynamic message signs along highways in Kentucky, Delaware, and Indiana.
• supporting research to support automated, location-based driver alerts via electronic logging devices that inform drivers of upcoming work zones --- improving safety for both the drivers and the workers.
• enhancing electronic screening technologies to detect vehicle violations (such as automated license plate readers, USDOT number readers, tire monitoring system, and hazardous materials placard readers).
• offering outreach and education to combat human trafficking, an effort in which truck drivers can play a key role given their time and attention on the road.