The bi-partisan $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill, which just passed in the Senate, includes $268 Billion targeted directly at transportation-related improvements, as well as a “Drive Safe” pilot program for young professional drivers. This Bill could have a far-reaching impact on food distribution. Here’s how:
Impact of Infrastructure on Food Distribution
According to Mark S. Allen, President and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), “Investing in America’s future is critical for the foodservice distribution industry, and modernizing our infrastructure for 21st-century commerce would help the supply chain more efficiently move goods and materials to America’s foodservice operators and restaurants across the country.”
While these benefits will take some time to roll out, food service distributors can expect to see quicker results from the new Drive Safe program.
“We are particularly pleased to see the inclusion of the DRIVE-Safe Act pilot program, which is a good first step in helping to address our nation’s growing truck driver shortage. Foodservice distributors pay, on average, in excess of $70,000 annually plus benefits for professional drivers, which is a great bridge to America’s middle class,” said Allen.
IFDA is a longstanding advocate for policy change to attract and retain the next generation of professional drivers by enhancing training requirements and removing archaic and arbitrary age restrictions placed on 18-20-year-olds with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
The Drive-Safe Pilot Program is a 3-year initiative that will give 18-20-year-olds 400 hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel training to give a new generation of drivers access to good-paying jobs.
The Drive-Safe Program will be critical to helping alleviate the massive, national truck driver shortage which is putting a strain on the food distribution industry. An estimated 15,000+ driver positions are currently open in the foodservice distribution industry, according to an IFDA member survey released this summer.
Make the Most of the Momentum
While exciting times are ahead with the promise of the Infrastructure Bill, the foodservice distribution industry has real needs that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Technology is key to making the most of your resources right now and making the most of the momentum that the Infrastructure Bill will build.