Truck driver shortage reaches crisis level
ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) - Representatives from local trucking companies held a roundtable discussion Monday with Congressman Mike Gallagher.
The topic: an extreme shortage of truck drivers across the country and proposed legislation that could help.
At the Schneider Driver Training Center in Ashwaubenon, trucking industry leaders point to a number of factors leading to a record shortage of nearly 80,000 truck drivers nationwide.
“You have the ongoing retirement, you have demands that are at really strong levels, you have supply chain challenges because of other constraints on the bottleneck if you will and I’m not sure there’s a really fair comparison to any other time past,” says John Bozec, Schneider Senior VP of Operations.
Through a bipartisan bill he helped introduce earlier this month, Representative Gallagher says he’s trying to help the industry retain current drivers and recruit new ones.
The bill would create a two-year refundable tax credit of $7,500 for truck drivers holding a valid Class A commercial driver’s license who drive at least 1,900 hours a year.
“We got a reminder in the pandemic early on when there were shortages on the shelves just how critical trucking is to everyday life in Northeast Wisconsin and it’s a problem we can’t ignore,” says Gallagher R-Green Bay).
Trucking companies are in full support of the bill and thanked Gallagher for his efforts to increase financial incentives.
But they also contend their customers play a vital role as well.
“You talk of driver shortage, a lot of that can be mitigated by the customers being educated to getting them in and out of there quicker because nothing will make a $100,000 a year person more angry than sitting in a dock for hours and hours and hours calculating how much money they’re losing while they’re doing it and you can never pay a person enough money to miss their kid’s event,” explains Todd Svetlovics with WEL Companies.
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