Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Trucking groups call on Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to address truck parking shortage

Several trucking groups, including the Alabama Trucking Association, have joined forces in a collective effort to address the growing truck parking shortage issue in Alabama. On November 1, coalition leaders co-signed a letter to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, urging her to evaluate the critical shortage of safe truck parking spaces and use federal grants and funding to create more available parking for truck drivers.

Truck drivers play an essential role in the nation’s supply chain, delivering goods and materials nationwide. However, a severe truck parking shortage has made it increasingly difficult for these drivers to find safe places to rest after long hours on the road.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (USDOT), nearly 98% of truck drivers regularly struggle to find secure parking, a significant increase from just four years earlier. This shortage is not limited to Alabama but is a nationwide problem, with truck drivers consistently ranking it among their top challenges. The situation is expected to worsen as trucks’ freight volume is projected to increase by more than 21% over the next decade.

The lack of available truck parking poses serious safety risks to both truck drivers and the public. When truckers cannot find authorized parking, they must resort to parking in unsafe or illegal locations, creating hazards on the road. Tragically, such situations have led to accidents, as witnessed when a Greyhound bus collided with parked tractor-semitrailers on an exit ramp in Illinois last July.

The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act has provided substantial resources to state and local governments to address this issue. The funds can be used to construct new truck parking facilities and expand capacity at rest areas or nontraditional locations like weigh stations and commuter lots. These resources are accessible through various federal-aid highway programs, ensuring flexibility in funding options.

States, including Alabama, have the opportunity to use these resources to increase parking capacity and improve operational efficiency at existing facilities. Furthermore, federal formula and discretionary programs are available for funding additional improvements, like electrification and technology solutions. Even unspent funds from Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds can be allocated for infrastructure projects, including truck parking facilities.

Truck drivers are the unsung heroes who keep our society and economy running. They deliver goods we rely on daily, and their safety is paramount. The letter from the trucking groups calls on Governor Ivey to prioritize and address the serious truck parking shortage issue, ensuring that truck drivers have a safe place to rest when delivering more than 70% of America’s freight. This united effort highlights the importance of providing support and resources to this critical aspect of the transportation industry.