The ATA is pressing all 50 states to use surface transportation program funds to increase truck parking spaces. In letters sent to each state’s DOT, William Canary, ATA’s acting president, said several funding options have been made available by the U.S. DOT to increase truck parking spaces along major roads.
Specifically, the U.S. DOT declared that a state could use its surface transportation program funds to modify commuter parking areas or weigh stations to provide parking spaces for trucks, provided that the state concluded that such projects are either "safety infrastructure improvements" or "hazard elimination," said Canary.
He added that states can also tap into "penalty funds" charged against a state for failure to comply with various federal safety laws and transferred to its Section 402 Highway Safety Programs. These penalties include not having enacted laws to establish a minimum penalty for repeat offenders or open container requirements. Canary said the DOT allows Section 402 funds to be used for building truck parking spaces, provided that the state use the transferred funds after determining that there is a safety problem due to a shortage of truck parking spaces.
The lack of truck parking is becoming a big concern for the trucking industry nationwide, said Canary. He said a study undertaken by the ATA Foundation found there is a national shortage of over 28,000 truck parking spaces. Canary added that the Federal Highway Administration is currently completing a study on the availability of truck parking spaces and he anticipates that this new survey will confirm the shortage.