Legislation Would Create a Refundable Income Tax Credit for America’s Commercial Truck Drivers
The Spanberger-Gallagher Bill is Endorsed by the American Trucking Associations
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help address the current truck driver shortage in the United States by establishing a refundable income tax credit for qualified commercial truck drivers.
In 2021, American trucking companies experienced a record 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 percent of the U.S. economy’s goods. Many trucking companies — including in Virginia and Wisconsin — have struggled to hire drivers without offering bonuses or increased wages to qualified drivers. And to further compound the issue down the road, the median age of U.S. truck drivers is between 51 and 52-years old.
The bipartisan Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act would provide a short-term, fast, and straightforward 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. Additionally, it would help get more Americans on the road by establishing new incentives for Americans to enter registered trucking apprenticeships.
“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,” said Spanberger. “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. I want to thank Congressman Gallagher for his partnership on this issue and for focusing on the economic concerns of his constituents.”
“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.”
The Spanberger-Gallagher legislation is endorsed by the American Trucking Associations, American Loggers Council, Virginia Trucking Association, Virginia Farm Bureau, Virginia Loggers Association, and Virginia Agribusiness Council.
“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, President & CEO, American Trucking Associations (ATA). “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. We thank Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Mike Gallagher for their leadership on this critical issue and for being strong advocates for America’s truck drivers.”
“The pandemic and supply chain issues have shown us the importance of having an adequate supply of qualified truck drivers. The trucking industry currently has a shortage of 80,000 drivers and the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act provides a short-term, fast, and straightforward incentive to retain and attract new and former drivers. We applaud Reps. Spanberger and Gallagher for this effort to enhance trucking’s workforce and the efficiency of our nation’s supply chain,” said P. Dale Bennett, President & CEO, Virginia Trucking Association.
“Commercial truck drivers are in short supply compared to the need nationwide, and Virginia’s forest harvesters are no exception. Many of our logging businesses have empty log trucks sitting on their yards due the lack of qualified drivers. The forest products industry is the third largest contributor to Virginia’s economy and our forest harvesters are an essential first step to get the forest raw materials into the processing mills. Representative Spanberger listened to Virginia Loggers Association leadership and has put forth a straight-forward, common sense bill to keep qualified drivers in the industry and encourage new drivers through an appealing tax credit. VLA applauds her for her positive approach to boost our industry and encourage more drivers,” said Ron Jenkins, Executive Director, Virginia Loggers Association.
“Our members continue to face supply chain challenges, especially in transporting agricultural and silvicultural materials. The Virginia Agribusiness Council supports the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act as an important tool for attracting and retaining qualified truck drivers,” said Kyle Shreve, Executive Director, Virginia Agribusiness Council.
The Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act would:
- Create a new refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for truck drivers holding a valid Class A CDL who drive at least 1,900 hours in the year. This tax credit would last for two years (2022 and 2023).
- 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.
- 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.
Click here for full bill text.