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Ohio House Passes Bill Aimed At Filling Truck Driver Shortage

Greg Gjerdingen

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

State Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Twp.) authored HB 222, and says he’s seen first-hand in his manufacturing business how a lack of drivers can delay shipments. 

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 seem like an “unglamorous” profession to some.

“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,” Stoltzfus says. “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.”

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

His bill proposes up to five credits of $5,000 each per employer, for a total of $25,000. It also sets a total statewide cap 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.

Kabir Bhatia joined WKSU as a Reporter/Producer and weekend host in 2010. A graduate of Hudson High School, he received his Bachelor's from Kent State University. While a Kent student, Bhatia served as a WKSU student assistant, working in the newsroom and for production.