Three months ago, the United States Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 in a 69-30 vote. Now, the House of Representatives has passed the same bill at a rate of 228-206. Now the bill goes to Joe Biden for a signature to become law.
The Effect on Trucking
It is fair to say that most people would say our roads are in need of repair and that to ignore it is costly to the average person on the road.
With that in mind, the $1.2 trillion spending bill allocates $550 billion for the funding of new transportation projects. $110 billion is for roads and bridges. $66 billion is for freight and passenger rail projects, the former of which relates to trucking by way of intermodal delivery.
Beyond these two major budget items, smaller ticket items are also on the bill that relate directly to trucking. A $7.5 billion earmark is for a network of electric vehicle chargers across highway corridors, which is expected to help motivate truckers and 4-wheelers alike to adopt electric vehicles in the immediate future. Additionally, $11 billion is being put aside for safety programs and enforcement, something of which the trucking industry will no doubt feel the brunt.
The bill contains more than just a bill. The bill also calls for an apprenticeship program for drivers under the age of 21 to drive across state lines with specific provisions in place, such as a speed limiter only allowing the truck to travel 65 miles per hour. The bill also calls for more research on the use of side guards.
Industry leaders have voiced their approval for the passed bill, especially because it does not include previously discussed increases in insurance requirements for commercial trucking businesses.
“Roads and bridges are not political — we all drive on them,” spear said. “A majority in the House realized this today and did what’s right for the country, not themselves.”
Unfortunately, the bill also omits funding for truck parking, an issue that has been plaguing the industry for well over a decade at this point.
We wrote in 2020 how that year’s version of the INVEST in America Act would not become law, and at the time we were correct. However, the changes in Congress since then have allowed its successor to become a reality.
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