Fleet Owner: New bill addresses truck driver shortage, supply chain challenges

FLEET OWNER

In 2021, trucking companies experienced a deficit of approximately 80,000 drivers due to hiring and retention challenges. This shortage has impacted all American consumers through delayed and more expensive shipping costs—as trucks move more than 72% of the U.S. economy’s goods

U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) have introduced legislation to help address the current truck driver shortage by establishing a refundable income tax credit for qualified commercial truck drivers.

The bipartisan Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act would provide an incentive to attract and retain new drivers. Specifically, the Spanberger-Gallagher bill would create a two-year refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for truck drivers holding a valid Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) who drive at least 1,900 hours in the year.

The proposed bill would also create a new refundable tax credit of up to $10,000 for new truck drivers or individuals enrolled in a registered trucking apprenticeship. This tax credit would also last for two years. Additionally, it would allow new truck drivers to be eligible for the credit if they did not drive a commercial truck in the previous year or drive for at least 1,420 hours in the current year. They may receive a proportion of the credit if they drive less than 1,420 hours in the year but drove at least an average of 40 hours a week upon starting to drive.

“Over the last two years, we have seen just how important truck drivers are for keeping our economy growing and our communities moving. But to fully combat the shortages and rising costs faced by families and businesses right now, we need to attract even more skilled drivers to the American trucking industry,” Spanberger said in a statement. “Our legislation takes a commonsense step towards addressing our chronic driver shortage. By creating a refundable tax credit for the men and women who keep our goods flowing, we would encourage more young people to hop in the driver’s seat, reduce headaches for trucking businesses, and make sure experienced drivers are rewarded for their hard work.”

“The truck driving industry is facing a massive workforce shortage that’s disrupting supply chains and leaving store shelves empty,” said Gallagher. “We need truck drivers to keep our economy moving, and this bill takes steps to help encourage more individuals to make a career out of this important work.”

American Trucking Associations, American Loggers Council, Virginia Trucking Association, Virginia Farm Bureau, Virginia Loggers Association, and Virginia Agribusiness Council all have endorsed the measure.

“Building the next generation of trucking talent, and shrinking the nationwide shortage of qualified truck drivers, is one of the highest priorities for our economy over the next decade,” said Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO. “This is an issue that directly affects all Americans, not just trucking companies. As driver pay continues to rise at a historic pace, the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act would attract even more drivers into the field by providing substantial tax credits to reduce their federal tax liabilities. This bipartisan bill would make a meaningful difference in the lives of new truckers, further elevating the profession as one of the few available in today’s job market that provides a stable career path to the middle class without the costly burden of a four-year college degree. A challenge as complex as the truck driver shortage cannot be resolved through a single solution. Solving it requires a multifaceted approach that combines industry initiative with good public policy such as this legislation.”

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