House Committee Forwards Promising Trucking Bill

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Originally Published by: HBS DEALER — May 25, 2023
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Multiple pieces of legislation that look to improve the supply chain were given the go-ahead by the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.

The nation currently faces a shortage of as many as 90,000 truck drivers.

The committee said it approved a slate of measures to strengthen the Nation’s supply chain and protect Americans and the economy from future supply chain disruptions.

“The Biden Administration’s big spending, anti-energy agenda led to sky-high inflation and exacerbated a critical supply chain crisis,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO). “Today, the Committee took action to strengthen our supply chain in numerous ways by removing regulatory barriers, improving supply chain efficiency, and promoting smarter infrastructure investment.”

Among the pieces of legislation that are now moving to a House vote is (H.R. 3013) the Licensing Individual Commercial Exam-takers Now Safely and Efficiently (LICENSE) Act of 2023.

Introduced by Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL), the bill eliminates regulatory barriers and addresses truck driver shortages by making permanent two commonsense waivers issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for more efficient Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) testing.

“Trucking workforce shortages continue to be a persistent challenge for small businesses throughout America, and the downstream effects are harming working families,” LaHood said. “As we face unprecedented supply chain challenges, this legislation will help streamline the process to obtain a commercial driver’s license and reduce unnecessary red tape. I am pleased that the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has passed this commonsense legislation and hope to see it come before the full House for a vote soon.”

The LICENSE Act has been a primary piece of supply chain legislation backed by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA), along with the SHIP IT Act.

The NLBMDA has noted that the nation is experiencing a shortage of 80,000 to 90,000 truck drivers, which has a negative ripple effect for every part of the supply chain. And the median age for a truck driver is between 51 and 52 years old, demonstrating that the need for more drivers will be even greater in the coming years. 

Also receiving T&I Committee approval is (H.R. 2367) the Truck Parking Improvement Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL).

The bill addresses the significant lack of truck parking by increasing resources for the construction of new Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) parking, additional parking at current CMV parking areas, and improvements to existing CMV parking.  It also requires CMV parking spaces constructed to be accessible to all CMVs without charge.

The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act would provide $755 million in grants for states and cities to build more commercial motor vehicle parking facilities to provide more options for truck drivers to find legal parking.

Click here to learn about recent action taken by the Highways and Transit Subcomittee.

“I grew up in a family trucking business,” said Rep. Bost. “I understand how difficult, and oftentimes dangerous, it can be when America’s truckers are forced to park in an unsafe location. By expanding access to parking options for truckers, we are making our roads safer for all commuters and ensuring that goods and supplies are shipped to market in the most efficient way possible. This is a matter of public safety; and I’m proud to have led on this important legislation.”

Additionally, (H,R. 365) The Supply Chain Improvement Act, introduced by Rep. John Duarte (R-CA) has gained approval. The bill ensures that priority consideration is given to projects that would improve or build resiliency into the supply chain under the INFRA and MEGA discretionary grant programs.

For more on the Transporation and Infrastructure Committee’s latest supply chain moves, click here.