Yesterday, Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) reintroduced their Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act. With our economy operating with 80,000 fewer truck drivers than it needs, enactment of this bill is critical toward attracting potential younger drivers to consider truck driving as a profession. ABMA is listed as an endorsing organization in the announcement that Reps. Spanberger and Gallagher made in support of the bill on reintroduction.
Specifically, the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act 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.
The bipartisan leaders of this legislative effort in the House had this to say on Thursday—
“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,” said Spanberger. “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. I want to thank Congressman Gallagher for his continued partnership on this legislation, and I look forward to seeing more young Americans hop in the driver’s seat.”
“The truck driving industry is facing a massive workforce shortage that’s disrupting nearly every aspect of our supply chains,” said Gallagher. “We need to encourage more young men and women to join this career path, and this bipartisan bill is a common sense way to recruit and retain more drivers to keep our shelves stocked and our economy moving.”
Also this week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled legislation that would authorize $755 million over three years to help alleviate the parking space shortage for truck drivers. The legislation, introduced Wednesday, would authorize spending for competitive grants for projects that provide more parking for trucks and improve safety. In addition, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act specifies that money disbursed under this bill must be used for creation of unpaid parking spots, meaning all parking under the bill must be publicly accessible and free of charge.
According to the sponsors, there is just one parking spot for every 11 trucks, forcing drivers to waste about an hour a day searching for safe parking. The co-leads in the House are Reps. Mike Bost (R-IL) and Angie Craig (D-MN). Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) are the main sponsors in the Senate on this bipartisan, bicameral bill.
“When truck drivers don’t have a designated place to park, they end up parking on the side of the road, near exit ramps, or elsewhere,” said Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, endorsing the bill. “This isn’t safe for the driver and it’s not safe for others on the road.” Lack of parking and the inherent stress in finding limited parking is yet another barrier to attracting new drivers—and keeping existing drivers—in the truck driving workforce. This bill would help break that barrier down.
“The top reason female commercial drivers leave the industry is because they are concerned about their personal safety,” Ellen Voie, Founder, Women in Trucking said in a statement. “Parking areas need to be safe and available for breaks when needed. The Women in Trucking Association supports this legislation because our mission includes addressing obstacles and a safe place to rest is something our members absolutely need and deserve while moving our nation’s goods.”
As you know, provisions of both of these bills are included in the SHIP IT Act, a supply chain bill that ABMA promoted during our Advocacy Day in Washington last week. ABMA confirmed again this week in meetings with Members of Congress and staff that trucking incentives and authorizing new truck parking infrastructure is under active consideration for inclusion in a more comprehensive supply chain legislative package now being drafted in the House.
Estate Tax Repeal
This week, ABMA signed on to a letter with several other organizations to Senator John Thune (R-SD) supporting legislation he is introducing to repeal the estate tax. In sectors that require high capital investment, families often struggle to meet the tax requirements imposed by the estate tax because their liquid assets are much lower than the value of the land, property, and equipment. Senator Thune’s legislation—titled the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2023—would repeal Chapter 12 of the tax code (estate tax provisions) and ensure that tax payers are not taxed on the increased value of an estate by retaining the stepped-up basis at death.