New Senate Bill to Help Trucking Industry's Access to Military Installations

A new defense policy bill under consideration at the US Senate includes a proposal to further facilitate access for trucks to military bases and installations. Democratic leaders hope to finalize their annual defense measures by the beginning of August 2023.

Within the legislative package is a provision mandating the Department of Defense to arrive at specific standards for accessing military installations across the US for freighters.

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The committee notes that there is no universal access standard across services, which can lead to project delays for military construction projects and facility repairs. The committee recommended a provision that would require the secretary of defense to promote guidance of enactment for purposes of establishing final standards for access to installations within the next half-year cycle.

The House of Representatives approved its version of the defense bill, which includes a similar provision. Freight stakeholders, including the American Trucking Association (ATA), endorsed Congress’ focus on military installations and bases.

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This is an important topic of discussion for the Senate and the ATA, as trucking revenue, tonnage, and employment all grew in 2022, and continue into 2023. Trucks moved more than 11.4 billion tons of freight last year, generating more than $940 billion USD – an increase from the previous year.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello: “While 2022 was a challenging year for trucking in many respects, the industry still posted growth in revenue, tonnage, employment, and several other measures. In addition, by share of freight revenue and tonnage, trucking remained by far the dominant mode of transportation in the country.”

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Comments during ATA’s Moving & Storage Conference: “Such access standards must be consistent across military installations, including procedures to facilitate recurring unescorted access for ‘covered individuals,’ and require [Department of Defense] to accept credentials that already exist for non-DOD personnel, such as the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Worker Identification Credential.”

Enhancing access at military bases and federal facilities for drivers is a key priority for the ATA as it will help to assist trucking companies that move household goods for military and civilian personnel.