2023 MTA Legislative Priorities
Increase Funding for Truck Driver and Diesel Technician Training
Minnesota’s supply chain requires a steady influx of trained professional truck drivers and diesel technicians to efficiently move the state’s freight. Unfortunately, Minnesota is facing a significant shortage of students in these programs. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, there were 7,771 job openings for motor vehicle operators in the 4th Quarter of 2021. Tuition, cost of living while being trained, new federal training requirements and access to state-of-the-art engines, tractors and trailers are barriers to graduating an adequate number of effectively trained students. Legislative Action: Establish a grant program to cover the costs of driver and technician training, and provide funding to upgrade engines, trucks and trailers at the state’s training programs.
Limit Expansion of Recreational Marijuana
Under Federal regulation, professional truck drivers are prohibited from using marijuana. Any change in Minnesota law will not change this fact. However, expanding the legal use of recreational marijuana will reduce our available labor pool and make Minnesota roadways less safe. We believe marijuana legalization should not be expanded unless ALL of the very real public safety and societal risks and costs are addressed. Legislative Action: Ensure that any legislation directly addresses risks and costs associated with any expanded authorized use.
Increase Funding for Truck Parking
The trucking industry faces a major truck parking shortage. This was validated by a 2019 MnDOT Truck Parking Study, which found the need for targeted expansion of truck parking at Minnesota trunk highway public rest areas. Lack of adequate parking increases driver fatigue, reduces highway safety and discourages people from pursuing the career. Legislative Action: Increase funding for truck parking on major Minnesota truck routes.
Apply No-fault Insurance Model to BOTH Passenger Cars and Commercial Trucks
Minnesota’s No-Fault system is a fair process requiring insurance carriers to resolve their own clients’ claims. It relieves our burdened court system from needless fights between insurance companies. However, operators of commercial motor vehicles weighing over 5,500 pounds in Minnesota are specifically excluded from the no-fault framework. As a result, they are left to fight with their own insurance company and, maybe, the other party and their insurance company. The fight frequently results in needless court cases. No other state with no-fault laws abandons commercial motor vehicles on the island Minnesota does. Legislative Action: Eliminate the commercial motor vehicle exception in Minnesota Statute Section 65B.53.