A bill introduced this week in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to make sweeping changes to the trucking industry in hopes of recruiting and retaining more drivers to maintain the nation’s supply chain.
The Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act was introduced on January 24 by U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Jim Costa (D-CA).
“Disruptions in our trucking supply chain continue to drive up costs and create uncertainty for American consumers and producers,” said Costa. “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. That is why we introduced this bipartisan legislation to strengthen the workforce and make it easier to move products across the country.”
The SHIP IT Act would provide tax credits to encourage drivers to enter and stay in the trucking industry. Established truck drivers would be eligible for a tax credit of $7500 while new drivers entering the industry would be eligible for a $10,000 tax credit.
The bill would also allow truckers to apply for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grants to help future drivers pay for Entry Level Driver training costs or other driver education costs.
Additionally, the bill would provide competitive grants to states or private entities to create more safe trucking parking opportunities.
Lawmakers also included a measure in the SHIP IT Act to streamline the CDL process, making it easier for states and third parties to administer testing.
“Americans experienced a slew of freight disruptions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Johnson. “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.”