White House Unveils Plan to Bolster Trucking Industry

Steps include expediting the CDL process, recruiting veterans and women and expanding registered apprenticeships.

December 17, 2021

Female Trucker

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Biden Administration has released its Trucking Action Plan, which aims to improve trucker retention and recruit more truck drivers and in return, help the national supply chain for the long-term, reports The Hill.

The plan calls for a 90-day initiative by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Labor (DOL) to meet with industry leaders, drivers and other stakeholders to improve trucker pay, attract new talent to the industry and better retain drivers.

“Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing a set of concrete actions to address the expansion of trucking,” said the White House in a fact sheet on the plan. “These actions will support the ongoing economic recovery and lay the foundation for a next generation trucking workforce that will strengthen U.S. competitiveness and support millions of good driving jobs for years to come.”

Features of the administration’s plan include:

Reducing barriers to drivers getting commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs): The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will provide over $30 million in funding to help states expedite CDLs. FMCSA is sending all 50 states a toolkit detailing specific actions they can take to expedite licensing and will work with states to address challenges they are facing. The White House says that FMCSA will also begin closely tracking delays, identifying states that have challenges with issuing CDLs and communicating with all 50 governors about ways they can reduce delays in issuing CDLs.

Accelerating the expansion of Registered Apprenticeships: The Biden Administration will have a 90-day challenge to recruit employers interested in developing new Registered Apprenticeship programs and expand existing programs. The DOL also announced FASTPORT, which allows the department to work with trucking employers, unions and industry associations to establish Registered Apprenticeship programs for their organizations in as little as 48 hours. The DOL is investing $8 million in more national apprenticeship intermediaries who can help employers start Registered Apprenticeships in trucking and other supply chain industries.

Recruiting more veterans: The DOL Veterans’ Employment and Training Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will work with Veterans Service Organizations, Military Service Organizations, unions, industry trucking associations, training providers and private partners to enable transitioning service members and veterans to attain jobs in the trucking industry. The DOL and VA will work to ensure veterans’ driving experience is recognized for those seeking a CDL and will build on proven models, such as SkillBridge programs for transitioning service members.

Launching joint DOT-DOL Driving Good Jobs initiative: The initiative includes listening sessions with drivers, unions and worker centers, industry and advocates; truck driver pay and unpaid detention time research; identifying effective and safe strategies to get new entrants in the field from underrepresented communities, including women and young drivers; a task force to investigate predatory truck leasing arrangements; and identifying longer term actions to support drivers and driver retention by improving the quality of trucking jobs.

The fact sheet also laid out what the Administration will complete over the next 30, 60 and 90 days.

NACS Magazine shared how carriers are casting a wider net for applicants to fill truck driving jobs in “Women on the Road” in the October 2021 issue.

Tighter Emissions Could Mean More EV Sales

Meanwhile, the Biden Administration is close to announcing tighter limits on car and truck emissions to counter climate change, reports Bloomberg. The changes will affect passenger and light-duty vehicles from model years 2023 through 2026.

The exact amounts have not been announced yet, but Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan told Bloomberg last month that the final standards “will be much more aggressive and much more comprehensive.” EPA officials in recent months were considering boosting the stringency of requirements for model year 2026 by as much as 10 grams of carbon dioxide per mile beyond the proposed levels.

According to Bloomberg, the changes could increase zero-emission electric vehicle sales. According to a Union of Concerned Scientists analysis, if the EPA boosts requirements for model year 2026 and adopts a more stringent alternative it laid out as an option in August, there would be an additional 1.3 million EVs sold during model years 2023-2026.