On Friday, Nov. 5, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which looks to improve infrastructure, create job growth, and increase the country’s competitiveness globally. The legislation could directly impact the trucking industry over a five-year period with $550 billion in new federal investment. To help understand the potential effects Commercial Truck Trader has taken an unbiased look at six ways the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could impact the trucking industry.
1. It Could Create New Jobs
A major part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is infrastructure job creation. According to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, this plan could create and/or save 15 million jobs, including “transportation and material moving” occupations. Transportation and material moving makes up 60% of the infrastructure-related occupations and includes jobs like commercial drivers for heavy duty trucks, light duty trucks, and delivery vehicles. These jobs alone could account for roughly 2.81 million jobs, nearly 20% of the total 15 million jobs estimated in the report. There is currently a need in the industry for qualified drivers. The legislation’s job creation could help staff fleets.
2. There Could Be a Greater Demand for Commercial Vehicles
The rise of COVID-19 vaccines led to a demand for refrigerated trucks and vans, as well as drivers. Many of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s investments could generate an increased need for different types of commercial vehicles. This plan could create an increased demand for construction and manufacturing equipment and materials, along with the flatbeds that transport them. Flatbed trailers have the capacity to haul materials such as steel, concrete, bricks, and more.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also includes a proposal to invest in high-speed broadband access to Americans, particularly those who live in rural areas. The legislation sets out to prioritize building “future proof” broadband infrastructure in underserved areas to reach 100% coverage. These developments could require an increased use of certain trucks or vans to transport the specialized equipment and install networks.
3. It Could Repair Roads and Bridges
Included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a proposal to repair the country’s roads and bridges. The plan could modernize 20,000 miles of roads, main streets, and highways, and rebuild and repair 10 significant bridges and 10,000 smaller bridges to provide critical connections to communities. This could lead to smoother roads—which would help to decrease daily vehicle wear and tear—as well as make it easier for commercial drivers to transport goods and make deliveries faster.
4. It Could Make the Roads Safer for Drivers
In addition to the investment in repairing roads and bridges, the legislation includes $11 billion to improve road safety for everyone. This could increase existing safety programs and develop a new program called “Safe Streets and Roads for All” that funds state and local plans and improvements to reduce crashes and fatalities. Improved safety on the road is essential for decreasing accidents, while ensuring the well-being of commercial drivers on busy highways.
5. It Could Strengthen U.S. Supply Chains
Trucking plays a critical role in the supply chain industry since commercial drivers travel all over the country transporting goods that people need. The ongoing supply chain disruptions could improve with the legislation’s investments in the country’s transportation infrastructure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act puts emphasis on enhancing roadways and bridges, as well as prioritizing safety and efficiency to improve the overall system.
6. It Could Lead to a Future with Electric Commercial Vehicles
This legislation earmarks $7.5 billion to invest in the electric vehicle (EV) market and build a network of EV chargers. This plan could also replace and electrify diesel buses, including school buses and public transit. This would be the first-ever national investment in EV charging infrastructure in the U.S. It’s only a matter of time before there’s more investment in electric commercial vehicles and clean transportation.
Conclusion: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act shows opportunities for growth and investment in the trucking industry. With this plan for the future, commercial drivers and fleet managers could see job creation, improved roads, bridges and safety measures, a demand for vehicles, and stronger supply chains.