Ohio bills aim to help fleets find drivers

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Four bills in the works in the Ohio legislature are meant to bolster employment in the trucking industry in the state by making it easier for people to obtain commercial driver’s licenses.

According to the Dayton Business Journal, the bills would create scholarships and loan funds for students, provide tax credits to trucking companies that develop on-the-job training, make it easier for drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 to get insured and make it possible for those 18-20 to get insured, as well as streamline the process for military veterans to obtain CDLs.

The scholarship and tax credit bills have been introduced, but the other two bills have yet to be introduced.

According to bill sponsor Rep. Ryan Smith, the bill to create scholarships and loans for trucking school students would help up to 1,000 student drivers. As part of the proposed Commercial Truck Driver Student Aid Program, scholarships would pay approximately half the cost of CDL training, and the other half would be paid through a loan.

“The Commercial Truck Driver Student Aid Program provides an affordable pathway to a career with high-wage pay,” Smith said in a press release. “Programs like these can revitalize the trucking industry here in Ohio and help our workforce to keep more money in their wallet.”

The other bill that has been introduced, which would offer tax credits to trucking companies, was introduced by Ohio Rep. Robert Sprague. He said fleets would be eligible for up to a 50 percent match of up to $50,000 in annual tax credits. The program would be facilitated through the Ohio Development Services Agency and, according to Sprague, would give trucking companies the resources to train new employees and fill jobs.

In total, the package of bills, if passed, is expected to increase employment in the trucking industry in Ohio by 8,000 people, according to Smith’s press release.