What Does DOT Funding Mean for Trucking?

The “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law on November 5th, 2021. It is the largest long-term investment in infrastructure and economy in history authorizing up to $108 billion to support federal public transportation programs, including $91 billion in guaranteed funding. The law will provide $550 billion in funding for roads, bridges, mass transit, water infrastructure, resilience, and broadband and will be dedicated to the fiscal years 2022-2026. What does that mean for trucking? Well, you can guess that it means many things and they are all good.

We thought we would take a look at the law and highlight the areas most important to the trucking industry and for truck drivers specifically.

How Funding Translates

• 615, 000+ Bridges Nationwide • 11.9 Billon Tons of Freight Carried on American Highways • 500,000 Traffic Incident Responders Trained

Highway Programs Over 5 Years

• The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides the basis for FHWA programs and activities through September 30, 2026, investing $350 billion in highway programs. This includes the largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the Interstate Highway System.

• New programs under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law focus on key infrastructure priorities including rehabilitating bridges in critical need of repair, reducing carbon emissions, increasing system resilience, removing barriers to connecting communities, and improving mobility and access to economic opportunity.

• Many of the new programs include eligibility for local governments, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Tribes, and other public authorities, allowing them to compete directly for funding.

To make it personal, funding for bridges in Idaho amounts to 225,000,000. The funding is also allocated to highway safety programs, railway-highway crossing programs, along with safe streets and roads for all grant programs. In short, much-needed maintenance and even new structures will be funded over the next 5 years. CDL License and Driver Retention Programs

Our federal infrastructure including roads and bridges is the literal foundation for truck drivers. A strong and efficient infrastructure will make for a strong and efficient business for the trucking industry overall but that’s not all.

With nearly 75% more funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this program will streamline CDL training to get more drivers on the road, reducing supply chain pressures and making goods more affordable for American families — Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

In response to the law, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Labor launched a Trucking Action Plan to increase the number of truck drivers by creating new and more efficient ways to enter the profession, mitigating barriers to receiving high-quality training through Registered Apprenticeship, and improving job quality through road and bridge safety and other programs.

The Trucking Action Plan (TAP) has awarded more than $44 million in grants that will enhance road safety and make the process to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) more efficient by reducing wait times, ensuring conviction and disqualification data is electronically exchanged, implementing regulatory requirements, and combating human trafficking. These grants will help get more qualified drivers on the road helping to meet supply chain demands.

Additionally, the DOT has been working with states to reduce CDL backlogs and wait times, and now with the federal funding, obstacles have been cleared to make sure those who want to join the trucking industry can. A separate Supply Chain Disruption Task Force has also been focused on truck driver retention as part of the Trucking Action Plan. Low pay, parking shortages, and other challenges in the profession are responsible for a dramatic driver shortage. To address the challenges, the Department has announced that it will undertake a driver compensation study and form a truck leasing task force. The DOT has also clarified what programs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law can be used to address truck parking.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a win for American truckers and the supply chain — American Trucking Association

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included a 74% increase in CDLPI program funds which will help address safety based on an astonishing rise in the number of roadway fatalities. This funding will be applied in ways that support critical safety programs in every State which in turn, will help reduce large truck crashes.

Infrastructure is so elemental to our society that when it’s not there to serve us in the right way, all of us are impacted. But when it’s strong every community, large and small, rural and urban, privileged and marginalized, every community feels the benefits—Secretary, Pete Buttigieg

Achievements in Expanding and Improving Trucking

Specific achievements as dictated by the current administration are as follows:

  1. Getting Americans Working in Better Trucking Jobs: Since 2021, we have seen historic increases in trucking employment with 2021 registering as the best year for trucking employment growth since 1994 and December 2021-February 2022 as the best three-month stretch for long-distance truck hiring since the 1990s. And frontline truckers’ real wages grew this year despite elevated inflation.
  2. Cutting red tape in Commercial Driver’s licensing: DOT gave states the tools to more than double new commercial driver’s license issuances in January and February 2022 compared to January and February 2021. States have issued more than 876,000 CDLs since January 2021.
  3. Scaling Registered Apprenticeships in trucking to improve retention: Over 100 employers including Domino’s, Frito-Lay, and UPS launched Registered Apprenticeship programs in 90 days as DOL cut the amount of time it takes to launch a program from months to as little as 48 hours. This could result in more than 10,000 additional apprentices.
  4. Helping connect veterans to trucking careers: The trucking industry partnered with leading Veterans Service Organizations to launch Task Force Movement: Life-Cycle Pathways for Veterans and Military into Trucking, chaired by former Congressman and veteran Patrick Murphy, to support the recruitment and retention of veterans and military family members.

Facts from the DOT and administration state that trucking employment currently exceeds pre-pandemic levels by 35,000— well above the level it was when it began the decline in 2019. Truck driver numbers over the last year were strongest in California exceeding 10 percent with Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, and Washington exceeding 8 percent. The metrics show that the moves made with the implementation of the Infrastructure Law are working and we have four more years to continue the effort and see even more growth and improvement. At D&D, we welcome the momentum.

If you are looking to join a robust and stable industry, contact us today.

*content facts were taken from fhwa.dot.gov and the links below.






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