One would create a new scholarship program to pay for truck driving school; another would provide grants to trucking companies to train more drivers; and the third would provide $500 grants to recruit new truck drivers for state businesses.
“Seventy-seven percent of all communities in Wisconsin rely solely on trucks to transport their goods and cargo,” Neal Kedzie of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association said Tuesday. “Add that to the fact that 94.9% of all manufactured tonnage in the state is moved by truck.”
Kedzie said trucking is a “graying industry” in Wisconsin.
“Our problem is that we don’t have enough new riders up front,” Kedzie said.
Kedzie said there is a high demand for truck drivers in the state. He said he just needed a reserve of drivers.
Madison lawmakers are focusing on truck drivers as one way to address supply chain issues in the state and across the country.
State Rep. Bob Brooks, RSaukville, said supply chain issues across the country are directly responsible for the inflation Wisconsin residents are seeing at the grocery store.
“One of the jobs of this committee is to look at inflation, which I think is one of the most regressive and punitive things for low-income people,” Brooks said. “Commodity prices have skyrocketed, and all of that is directly impacted by trucking.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos created the Select Trade and Supply Chain Committee last month. In addition to the trucking package, the committee is considering a plan to expand and promote apprenticeship programs in the state.