Lawmakers Stepping in to Help Fill Statewide Trucking Shortage

by Nathan Edwards

(WKEF/WRGT) -- A statewide trucking shortage now has the attention of lawmakers, stepping in to help fix the problem.

Right now, there are nearly 1,800 waiting to be filled here in the Miami Valley.

Companies though are struggling to hire the next generation of drivers. Fewer younger drivers are signing up due to high costs and other hurdles holding them back.

Jet Express Director of Operations Archie Crawford says the workforce is aging out.

“The average truck driver out here right now is between 54-55 years old,” Crawford said.

Jet has 30 openings and needs younger drivers, but a license is expensive.

“It's anywhere between $3500-5000 for a four-week class just to get your CDL,” Crawford said.

There's no financial aid for trucking school.

“Eight in ten people who call trucking schools, when they find out there's no financial aid they hang up the phone,” State Rep. Niraj Antani said.

This week Rep. Antani and other lawmakers will introduce four bills to help.

“We need to make it easier to fill these jobs,” Antani said.

One bill helps veterans use their military training to get a job. Another makes it easier for insurance companies to cover young drivers.

The other two would create 10 million dollars for trucking scholarships through grants and tax breaks.

“If the state could pass some bills to help fund CDL's that would benefit us immensely,” Crawford said.

These hiring problems are happening all over the country.

If nothing changes soon, the American trucking association says there will be more than 900,000 unfilled driving jobs by 2027.

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