Jason Rivenburg would not be proud.
Jason was a trucker who was robbed and murdered in the dead of night because he could not find a parking spot with adequate lighting and hospitality. Since then, his widowed wife Hope has become an advocate for an increase in truck parking nationwide.
While Republicans and Democrats butt heads over infrastructure spending, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EWP) has drafted the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 (STRA). Truck parking is not mentioned once in the proposed law.
STRA as the Last Straw
The FAST Act will officially expire at the start of October, so time is running out for Congress to come up with a change in direction. STRA is potentially a last resort replacement for FAST if bipartisanship continues to do its work.
The twenty-nine page document has many different sections, but none of them relate to additional trucking parking, one of the most prevailing problems haunting the trucking industry. This is a move that has angered industry leaders.
“Washington has again missed an easy and obvious opportunity to address the truck parking crisis,” Todd Spencer, president & CEO of OOIDA, said. “While we appreciate the bipartisan commitment to increase overall funding for highways, the lack of dedicated federal funding for truck parking is a glaring omission in this proposal.”
“Apparently, the EPW Committee considers weeds a bigger priority than truckers in the next highway bill. It’s incredibly frustrating to see the committee has authorized billions of dollars for new programs. But they couldn’t set aside a single penny to fix a well-documented and worsening safety concern that affects millions of truckers on a daily basis, WTF?”
Indeed, the bill appropriates $50 million per year to lower the use of nonnative plants over native plants alongside roads.
With the United States needing some form of an infrastructure bill to fight entropy, STRA seems like the current frontrunner in becoming the next bill for the next few years. The total estimated cost for STRA programs comes to a little over $300 billion, almost half of the GOP plan and around one-ninth the American Jobs Plan. At least it has its reduced tax bill going for it.
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