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House Reps reintroduce bill to strengthen trucking workforce, supply chain

March 31, 2023
The bill would create a two-year refundable tax credit for certain commercial drivers and establish new incentives for Americans to enter registered trucking apprenticeships.

U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia) and Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) reintroduced legislation to help address America’s truck driver shortage by establishing a refundable income tax credit for qualified commercial truck drivers.

The Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act would provide a short-term incentive to attract and retain new drivers. Specifically, the  bill would create a two-year refundable tax credit for certain commercial drivers. Additionally, it would establish new incentives for Americans to enter registered trucking apprenticeships.

The measure would:

  • Create a new refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for truck drivers holding a valid Class A CDL who drive at least 1,900 hours in the year. This tax credit would last for two years (2023 and 2024).
  • Create a new refundable tax credit of up to $10,000 for new truck drivers or individuals enrolled in a registered trucking apprenticeship. This tax credit would also last for two years.
  • Allow new truck drivers to be eligible for the credit if they did not drive a commercial truck in the previous year or drive for at least 1,420 hours in the current year. They may receive a proportion of the credit if they drive less than 1,420 hours in the year but drove at least an average of 40 hours a week upon starting to drive.

See also: House, Senate introduce bill to expand truck parking

“During the pandemic, truckers didn’t have any remote options—yet they went to work every single day to keep our economy moving and our communities strong. Our country needs to step up and recognize their hard work—and we need to encourage more Americans to enter this industry,” Spanberger said in a statement. “Throughout Virginia, I hear about the need to address our chronic truck driver shortage. Our bipartisan bill would help bring more drivers into the fold, keep them on the highway, and reward them for their loyalty.”

In 2021, American trucking companies experienced a deficit of approximately 80,000 drivers due to hiring and retention challenges. In Virginia and Wisconsin, many trucking companies have struggled to hire drivers without offering bonuses or increased wages to qualified drivers. To further compound this shortage, the median age of U.S. truck drivers now sits between 51 and 52 years old.

“The truck driving industry is facing a massive workforce shortage that’s disrupting nearly every aspect of our supply chains,” Gallagher said. “We need to encourage more young men and women to join this career path, and this bipartisan bill is a commonsense way to recruit and retain more drivers to keep our shelves stocked and our economy moving.”

Spanberger and Gallagher first introduced their bill in April 2022. The legislation has been endorsed by American Trucking Associations, American Loggers Council, Virginia Trucking Association, Virginia Farm Bureau, Virginia Loggers Association, Virginia Agribusiness Council, National Grocers Association, International Foodservice Distributors Association, American Building Materials Alliance, Forest Resources Association, Hardwood Federation, Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America, Third Way, and National Pork Producers Council.

“Reducing the nationwide shortage of qualified truck drivers will require investment in developing the next generation of trucking talent,” Chris Spear, ATA’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Even as driver pay continues to rise at a historic clip, the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act will provide even more incentive for those considering a career in trucking but by providing substantial tax credits to reduce their federal tax liabilities.”

“The bill also would provide relief for Americans currently driving trucks, helping the industry retain these essential workers,” Spear added. “This bipartisan legislation will make a meaningful difference in the lives of new truckers, helping them move into one of the few professions in today’s economy that can provide a middle-class lifestyle without the time and expense of a four-year college degree.”

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