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Northeast Ohio Legislators Propose Measure to Address Shortage of Truck Drivers

photo of trucks on highway
The bill authored by State Reps. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp) and Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) would give employers up to $25,000 in tax credits when they provide CDL training.

A bill that would give Ohio employers up to $25,000 in tax credits for training truck drivers has passed the state House and is on its way to the Senate.

State Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp) from Stark County authored the bill, and says he’s seen first-hand in his manufacturing business how a lack of drivers can delay shipments. 

a photo of Reggie Stolzfus
Stark County State Rep. Reggie Stolzfus (R-Paris Twp) speaks at the Ohio House on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.

He hopes the bill spurs more employers to pay for employees to get a Commercial Driver’s License, which can cost up to $10,000. But he adds that cost is not the only deterrent: there are age restrictions on CDLs, and trucking can simply seem “unglamorous.”

“Starting out in the CDL driver world, you may have to go over the road for six months or a year to get some experience on your resume. So that’s another drawback for people; they don’t want to spend two weeks on the road, then come home, then spend another two weeks on the road.”

Stoltzfus  says truck driving can be a very lucrative career, and there's a growing demand. He estimates there’s a nationwide shortage of about 50,000 drivers.

The bill proposes up to five credits of $5,000 each for an employer, for a total of $25,000 for each employer and a total cap statewide of $3 million a year. Stoltzfus says his company has trained several drivers in recent years, but will not be applying for the credit themselves.

State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) co-authored the bill.