More qualified motor fuels haulers needed, Balderson and 60 colleagues tell DOT

U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) led more than 60 Republican lawmakers in requesting that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) help solve the nationwide shortage of qualified drivers holding commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) in the motor fuels distribution industry.

“The licensing process for truck drivers should — most importantly — ensure high standards of safety and competence for those behind the wheel,” Rep. Balderson said. “Instead, redundancies and overly burdensome requirements are worsening driver shortages and pushing the limits of our existing workforce.”

The congressman, who serves on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, also pointed out that Americans “are hurting” from empty shelves and skyrocketing prices on everyday essentials due to the shortage, a fact reiterated in a June 24 letter he and his colleagues sent to DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“Our letter suggests safe steps that can help reduce the supply chain backlog by ensuring the uninterrupted delivery of motor fuel products that American consumers rely on,” Rep. Balderson said.

For instance, the lawmakers recommended that DOT consider working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to eliminate costly background check redundancies within the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), the hazardous materials endorsement (HME), and TSA PreCheck programs.

“Truck drivers hauling sensitive freight to secure facilities must obtain additional credentials beyond their CDL, such as the TWIC and HME. These credentials, while vital to safety and security, are managed by TSA through duplicative background checks, redundant fees, and avoidable administrative hurdles,” wrote Rep. Balderson and his colleagues.

And given that the background check required for all three programs is the same, and because one government agency manages these programs, the lawmakers suggested that streamlining the enrollment process for individuals seeking multiple credentials “is common sense and good government.”

“Importantly,” they wrote, “by taking these steps, USDOT can help increase the number of qualified drivers, reduce supply chain backlogs, and support the timely and uninterrupted delivery of essential motor fuel products that drive America’s economy.”

The Energy Marketers of America and the American Trucking Association endorsed the letter, which was also signed by members, including U.S. Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Pete Stauber (R-MN), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Don Bacon (R-NE), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Garret Graves (R-LA), Mark Amodei (R-NV), David Valadao (R-CA), Liz Cheney (R-WY), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Young Kim (R-CA), Dave Joyce (R-OH), and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH).