America’s truckers are the backbone our nation’s economy. Their efforts ensure shelves are stocked with goods, vaccines are delivered to communities, and supply chains keep moving. Congressional champions of the trucking industry recognize the importance of truckers and work to make their voices heard in D.C.
U.S. Congressman John Garamendi is one of those champions. Following his election in 2009, Congressman Garamendi has been an advocate for the trucking industry on the important House Committee for Transportation and Infrastructure.
The trucking industry supports more than 753,000 jobs across California and is home to 95,430 trucking companies – many of which are small, locally owned businesses. These professionals move nearly 88% of all manufactured goods in the state, totaling 830,000 tons every day.
“California is the 5th largest economy in the world, growing, manufacturing, and imagining the products and technologies in demand by consumers around the globe,” said Congressman Garamendi. “As we have learned during this pandemic, interruptions in the global supply chain affect the everyday lives of all Americans. Now more than ever we need to recognize, support, and reward the challenging job that our nation’s truckers do.”
Congressman Garamendi understands the unique role California’s truckers have in our nation’s supply chain. Truckers transport goods from the country’s largest ports to destinations throughout the country. To support their work, the Congressman introduced bipartisan legislation in the House to ensure truckers are treated fairly by foreign-owned ocean carriers. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021, H.R. 4996, will give the Federal Maritime Commission the tools it needs to crack down on unjust and unreasonable detention and demurrage practices that harm our truckers moving goods in and out of maritime ports.
Congressman Garamendi has also been a leader on the issue of truck parking by cosponsoring the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, H.R. 2187. There are approximately 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States today but only 313,000 truck parking spaces nationally. The lack of adequate truck parking presents a safety hazard for truck drivers and motorists as drivers are forced to park in other, often-unauthorized areas like off-ramps. H.R. 2187 establishes a grant program and dedicates $755 million from the Highway Trust Fund over the course of five years for truck parking projects across the country. With a focus on increasing capacity, the bill provides funding for the construction of new spaces at both public and private facilities, while also helping public entities convert existing facilities—such as weigh stations and closed rest areas—into truck parking locations.
“On behalf of California’s truckers, I thank Congressman Garamendi for his hard work as an advocate for the trucking industry in Congress. It’s necessary we have legislators who understand the importance of the trucking industry to our nation’s economy and supply chains,” said Shawn Yadon, CEO of California Trucking Association. “Congressman Garamendi clearly understands this and the industry thanks him for introducing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. We thank him for this legislation and all of his efforts in Congress.”
Q & A with Congressman Garamendi
What do you appreciate most about the trucking industry?
The hardworking men and women of America’s trucking industry get the job done, especially when it counts most. Every Californian and American should have a newfound appreciation for the essential work done by our nation’s truckers during this pandemic.
What role do truckers play in the local California economy?
California is the 5th largest economy in the world, growing, manufacturing, and imagining the products and technologies in demand by consumers around the globe. As we have learned during this pandemic, interruptions in the global supply chain affect the everyday lives of all Americans. Now more than ever, we need to recognize, support, and reward the challenging job that our nation’s truckers do.
If you could describe California truckers in one word, what would it be?
Essential: California’s truckers ‘deliver the goods,’ so to speak, day in and day out.
How can elected officials better support the men and women of trucking?
In addition to investing in our national interstate highway system like under the 2020 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we need to give our truckers the tools they need to perform their jobs safely and expertly. That is one of the reasons I am an original cosponsor of the bipartisan “Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act” (H.R.2187). In particular, we need more dedicated parking for commercial, long-haul trucks in and around our nation’s ports.
If you were a trucker, what song would top your long-haul playlist?
Keep On Chooglin’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival