A bill introduced in the House aims to improve the nation’s supply chain by providing recruiting and retention incentives for truck drivers and increasing shipping capacity.
On January 24, Congressmen Dusty Johnson of South Dakota and Jim Costa of California introduced the Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking Act, or SHIP IT, which aims to provide recruiting and retention incentives for truck drivers, and to increase U.S. transportation capacity.
According to Land Line, the SHIP IT Act, or HR471, would allow states to issue special permits for overweight vehicles and loads during emergencies. It would also allow truck drivers to apply for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grants. The bill would sweeten the attractions of working as a truck driver through targeted and temporary tax credits. It also aims to streamline the CDL process, making it easier for states and third parties to administer CDL tests. Additionally, the bill would seek to expand access to truck parking and rest areas for commercial drivers.
Under the bill, current truck drivers who logged at least 1,900 hours in a year could be eligible for a $7,500 tax credit, depending on their income. New truck drivers could be eligible for a $10,000 tax credit.
Read more: What Makes Supply Chain Workers Stay
“Americans experienced a slew of freight disruptions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Johnson said in a news release. “Last year we addressed ocean shipping reform, and it’s clear that updates are needed for other parts of the supply chain. The SHIP IT Act will bridge gaps, keep costs down for consumers, and make it easier for shippers to move products across the U.S.”
Costa said the bill is necessary to ensure that the nation’s supply chain is running smoothly. “We need to recruit, train and retain truck drivers to keep our supply chain moving, while also updating best practices to improve trucking to fit our modern economy,” he said.
The Shippers Coalition, the International Dairy Foods Association, the National Milk Producers, Consumer Brands Association, and heavy-duty suspension manufacturer Hendrickson expressed support for the bill.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association appreciates some aspects of the bill but believe it needs some tweaking.
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