Months after the Senate passed the spending package, the House finally approved the bill with a 228-206 vote. Now, President Biden is expected to sign into law the largest federal spending package that is aimed at improving U.S. roadways, bridges, ports, and other transportation infrastructure. “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to suggest that we took a monumental step forward as a nation,” the President said on Saturday. This infrastructure bill reauthorizes surface transportation programs through 2026, which replaces the Obama-era FAST Act.
What is in the bill for trucking?
According to American Trucker the money in this approved bill would
- Fix roads and bridges ($110 billion)
- Build out a nationwide electric vehicle charging as well as other alternative fueling infrastructure ($7.5 billion)
- Improve ports and waterways ($16 billion)
- Fund public transit ($49 billion)
- Boost freight and passenger rail ($66 billion)
- Improve airports ($25 billion)
- Boost broadband internet infrastructure ($65 billion)
The bill will set aside another $600-700 million per year for a bridge investment program, as well as seizing at least $52 billion per year from 2022 to 2026 from the Highway Trust Fund for improvement and safety projects across the nation. This includes a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) pilot program that would show how to look at how to tax cars and trucks with per-mile user fees to fund the HTF. In a statement over the weekend, the Truckload Carriers Association seems pleased with the money being put to use in the Highway Trust Fund. This is great news for the trucking industry
Driver Reach-out Programs
The bill also includes some initiatives to help with driver reach out and help promote outreach to women drivers. According to American Trucker, women make up just 24% of all transportation and warehousing jobs, with just 6.6% as truck drivers. This bill calls for creating a Women of Trucking Advisory Board to help encourage women to enter the field. Along with improving the trucking workforce for women, the bill would also establish a pilot program for the FMCSA to allow 18 to 21-year-old drivers to participate in interstate commerce apprenticeship programs. The hope for this is to expose the younger demographic to an industry they probably have never been exposed to and to expand the trucking workforce.
Within this infrastructure bill there are several safety initiatives taking place. Under this current proposal underride guards would become law. Underride guards are devices that keep passenger cars that crash into the back of trucks and trailers, from sliding beneath the trailer and severely injuring car occupants. According to American Trucker, trailers that do not have these could soon be out of service during roadside inspections.
Spending from this package could also create more than 700,000 new jobs, including more than 100,000 new jobs in the transportation industry, according to the White House. If you would like to learn more and the impact this infrastructure bill has, please contact a team member today!