WTOP, LUKE LUKERT
You have heard it often: blaming supply chain issues for those empty grocery shelves and delayed birthday gift shipments. But a new bipartisan bill in the House is looking to cut down on one supply chain issue.
In 2021, 72% of U.S. goods were moved by truck, and right now there is a shortage of about 80,000 truck drivers, according to the American Trucking Association.
Virginia Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger is co-sponsoring a bill encouraging more people to enter the industry and keep existing drivers on the job.
“That impacts us here in Virginia, it impacts us across the country, and has had a major impact on supply chains, and frankly, on inflation,” Spanberger told WTOP.
The “Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act” would offer refundable tax credits to new truck drivers or people enrolled in a registered trucking apprenticeship. That credit would be up to $10,000 and would last for two years.
It would also create a $7,500 refundable tax credit for truck drivers holding a valid Class A CDL who drive at least 1,900 hours in the year. It would also last two years.
“The bill is bipartisan. I worked with Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin on this,” said Spanberger. “It’s a really pretty common sense effort to get at a problem that’s impacting the nation.”
It is one of many governmental pushes to get more truck drivers on the road. Notably in Virginia, a partnership between The Virginia Ready Initiative and the Virginia Trucking Association shelled out $1,000 to any Virginian who completed a truck driver training program at a Virginia community college and passed a CDL test.
The “Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act” was introduced late last month and referred to the House’s Ways and Means Committee.
It has widespread industry support.
“It’s been endorsed by the American Trucking Association, the American Loggers Council, the Virginia Trucking Association, the Virginia Farm Bureau, Virginia Agribusiness Council, the Virginia Loggers Association,” Spanberger said.