By now, you probably know Congress passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, and President Biden signed it into law in late 2021. While a few included or missing pieces have left some in the trucking community feeling underserved, there are some significant victories for the industry. Continue reading this article to learn about the importance of road infrastructure, what’s in the infrastructure bill, and what road infrastructure problems the bill aims to fix.
If you’ve driven the highways and byways of America, you’ve become all too familiar with crumbling infrastructure. The importance of road infrastructure is on full display when roads, overpasses, or bridges are shut down because they’re in critical need of repair.
What may seem like a daily inconvenience to commuters can be a nightmare for the shipping industry. Inefficient routing can drastically prolong delivery times, increase fuel consumption, and reduce the number of shipping opportunities you can pursue.
Luckily, the new infrastructure bill has dedicated tremendous resources to eliminating many road infrastructure problems facing the nation.
As a trucker, you’re keenly aware of the importance of road infrastructure and stand to benefit from the proposed allocations. Of the more than $1 trillion invested in infrastructure, $450 billion is being sent to the Department of Transportation. Of that, $300 billion is dedicated to highways and $45 billion to bridges. An additional $66 billion has been earmarked for freight and passenger rail programs, dramatically affecting trucking companies that rely on intermodal delivery.
Addressing road infrastructure problems isn’t the only way the bill reshapes the trucking industry. Automatic emergency braking is set to become mandatory on all new trucks within the next two years. This helps truckers and those they share the road with stay safer, something we should all strive for.
The bill also includes new rules and standards for rear underride guards. Older guards must be brought up to the standards of more recent equipment, and studies are being commissioned to investigate raising the standards of side underride guards as well.
As more attention is given to electric vehicles and moving the trucking industry towards them, the bill supplies $65 billion for updating the electric grid. This influx of funds will develop the nation’s charging areas, making it more feasible for truckers to utilize nearby charging stations during shipment runs. In fact, $7.5 billion is allocated specifically for electric vehicle chargers.
Driver shortages and backed-up supply chains have plagued the trucking industry for some time, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified these problems. One of the provisions in the infrastructure bill that tackles the driver shortage is the new Apprenticeship Pilot Program.
Under the program, drivers below the age of 21 are paired with experienced mentor drivers and required to complete 120-hour and 280-hour probationary periods that highlight different aspects of safe truck driving practices.
It’s not just younger drivers that the bill targets. Public service campaigns designed to raise awareness of career opportunities and other initiatives are set to roll out soon. Compared to the rest of the U.S. workforce, the trucking industry severely lacks women’s participation. The infrastructure bill aims to change this by calling for the creation of the Women of Trucking Advisory Board to drive more interest within the female job market.
Industry experts and advocates were happy to not see mandatory truck speed limiter provisions in the bill. They also celebrated the lack of proposed minimum insurance level increases in the legislation. However, one thing drivers, fleet managers, and owners had hoped for but didn’t get was increased funding for truck parking.
The bill also doesn’t include polarizing legislation of:
- Limits on the personal conveyance use of trucks
- Mandatory obstructive sleep apnea screening
- Regulations requiring all CSA scores be made publicly available
Fuel delivery pipelines are becoming overwhelmed across the country. Costs rise when these are backed up, and shipping petroleum via trucking becomes necessary. With elevated gas prices already taking their toll on the trucking industry, enhancing our delivery options is crucial.
Not only are pipelines necessary, but so are loading racks at refineries. A loading rack allows the overhead loading of gas and other liquid materials into tanker trucks. They also help prevent the overfilling of tanks and ensure the bonding of the vehicles to avoid uncontrolled static discharges.
Fuel truck loading racks are a necessary part of infrastructure because they:
- Shorten fill up times
- Provide fall protection
- Minimize unnecessary risk while filling
- Protect cargo from contamination
- $550 billion has been set aside to fund fixes for road infrastructure problems, $110 billion of which is specifically for roads and bridges.
- Spending emphasizes the importance of filling job openings with young drivers and women.
- New laws on safety equipment, like rear underride guards, are being created.
- Power grids and charging stations are getting a significant funding boost to help revolutionize the nation and the hauling industry.
- Fuel delivery pipelines are overwhelmed, and fuel truck loading racks are in demand.
For nearly four decades, White Tank has been the leading parts distributor and installation, service, testing and inspection, and maintenance provider throughout Missouri, Kansas, and Southern Illinois. Our team of R-stamp certified technicians can handle even the most demanding welding jobs and tank installs.
We understand the importance of road infrastructure and the toll potholes, uneven lanes, and poor conditions have on a truck. We’re here to help anytime road infrastructure problems lead to damage or issues. Reach out to schedule an appointment with White Tank today.