The time is now: Build truck parking capacity

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Updated Feb 24, 2019

Semi-truck parked on ramp shoulder

As the world spins and the days turn to weeks, month and year, we must ask: when will the endless surveys stop and action take place?

I do not know about the rest of you, but I am sick and tired of taking surveys that always end showing clearly that there is not enough truck parking for truckers. I am sick to death of hearing that an infrastructure bill is around the corner. The profusion of mandated electronic logging devices has exasperated the issue, and the sad fact is if a driver does not start looking for a spot to park for the night by 1500 they will likely run their clock out and have no choice but to park anywhere they can.

Truck stops, rest areas, on-ramps, Walmart parking lots, shippers, receivers — in that order until you are stuck with some seedy areas, taking your own chances with robbery or worse. Jason’s Law has long since made it through; addressing truck parking scarcity now at least ostensibly a national priority. Millions in taxpayer dollars have been available to states to create safe parking, yet still we take surveys. Our government cannot seem to work for the people and do their most basic job, which is to protect the people.

While truckers continue to do their part to deliver the nation, the powers that be continue to put lives at risk for personal gain — I am sick of all of it. Sick of the rhetoric, sick of the excuses, and sick of wasting time looking for a safe place to park after a long day on the road.

So, let me help those who cannot seem to do their job with some suggestions. Get off your duff, quit worrying about the next election, and do what you were hired to do.

Second — take the plethora of survey data you’ve collected and the money set aside for the work and get it done.

Third, if you don’t know where to start: how about with our existing roads and bridges? You already have the right-of-way for on-ramps and off-ramps, and while they are likely not the best parking options in many cases, they are better than nothing. Build out the shoulders of these ramps to support the weight of trucks. Set up some lights, port-a-potties, trash cans, and — presto — you have truck parking. Do this to every third or forth on-ramp on every controlled-access federal highway, and you do not have to worry about neighbors objecting or city ordinances. You will have fixed the parking issues for several years to come.

Better yet, allow private commercial entities to develop rest areas within rights of way where appropriate, as they have on the turnpikes. This would create safe parking areas, eliminate neighborhood counsel rejections over truck stops being built to close to their lawns, and make our roadways safer — not to mention creating jobs.

These are just a few suggestions to further roll the ball along. Maybe, just maybe, D.C. and state lawmakers can get their act together and come up with something better.

Bottom line for lawmakers sent by us to the nation’s capitol: We need an infrastructure bill that will open the flow of traffic, make safer merge lanes and truly spur on badly needed truck parking. Please don’t wait for another bridge to collapse, for another trucker trying to provide for his family to be killed for the few dollars in his pocket.

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