Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Senator Tuberville supports legislation to boost veterans’ access to CDL programs

In a significant move towards expanding opportunities for veterans and addressing the truck driver shortage, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has joined forces with Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Alex Padilla (D-CA) as a cosponsor of the Veteran Improvement Commercial Driver License Act. This bipartisan legislation aims to cut through bureaucratic red tape, allowing more veterans to utilize their GI benefits for training in the trucking industry.

The trucking industry is currently grappling with a shortage of drivers with far-reaching implications, causing bottlenecks and delays in supply chains nationwide. Recognizing the urgent need to bridge this workforce gap and honor the service of veterans, Sen. Tuberville is throwing his support behind this crucial bill.

The legislation seeks to streamline the process of using GI benefits for commercial driving programs (CDL). Under current regulations, veterans are often denied the opportunity to use their benefits at new secondary facilities associated with CDL schools. The Veteran Improvement Commercial Driver License Act seeks to change this by ensuring that veterans can access GI benefits at new branches of CDL schools that have already received regulatory approval from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) and state regulators. It eliminates the two-year waiting period veterans currently face, giving them greater accessibility to quality CDL training.

“Veterans serve our country with dignity and should not fall victim to bureaucratic red tape,” Sen. Tuberville stated in a press release. “I’m proud to support this legislation that expands opportunities for our veterans by making it easier for them to use their well-deserved GI benefits to find a good job. We need more truck drivers in our country, and we should make it easier for veterans to enter the trucking industry.”

The Alabama Trucking Association also expressed its strong support for this initiative. Mark Colson, President and CEO of the Association said, “Our nation’s veterans have made tremendous sacrifices for our country, and it’s our duty to ensure they have every opportunity for a successful civilian life. This legislation not only honors their service but also addresses a pressing issue in the trucking industry. By removing unnecessary regulatory barriers, this bill will not only expand veterans’ access to quality CDL training but also help bridge the workforce gap in the trucking sector.”

Colson added that in a time when the trucking industry faces an acute shortage of drivers, the Veteran Improvement Commercial Driver License Act represents a pivotal step toward recognizing veterans’ contributions and ensuring their smooth transition into high-paying careers in the trucking sector.

By clarifying the regulations and reducing barriers, this legislation promises to make a tangible difference in the lives of veterans and the efficiency of the nation’s supply chains. Sen. Tuberville’s support underscores the importance of this initiative, offering hope and opportunity to those who have served our country with honor.