Battle Begins After City Fines Walmart $50,000 For Allowing Truckers To Park
Springfield, Illinois – The Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) is once again going on offense demanding answers from more city leaders about the lack of accommodations being made for tractor-trailer parking.
In a recent report in the State Journal Register, the city of Springfield issued a $50,000 fine to a Walmart Supercenter located at 1100 Lejune Drive, for allowing big rigs to park on its lot.
The city said Walmart was not following the parking plan it submitted when the store was built and remains in violation of the city ordinance regarding tractor-trailer parking.
According to the report, “City officials cited safety concerns for other drivers, whose visibility was blocked by tractor-trailers, which were often not owned by Walmart and were parking across multiple spots in the spaces farthest away from the store.”
The report outlines how city officials have made numerous attempts to work with Walmart to address the safety concerns and map out a plan that would satisfy leaders.
However, the city began fining Walmart $500 per day. Administrative hearing officer Roger Holmes approved the issuance of the fines.
The fines continued to grow until last Wednesday when Holmes agreed to cap the penalty at $50,000 as the two side continue to work toward a resolution.
SBTC Demands Answers
On Monday, Transportation Nation Network (TNN) obtained a letter from SBTC addressed to the mayor of Springfield, James O. Langfelder.
In the letter and FOIA request, signed by SBTC president James Lamb, the group writes,
It has come to the SBTC’s attention that the city may be attempting to pressure private enterprises such as Walmart to restrict or eliminate truck parking on private property within the city’s limits which, if true, may constitute interference with interstate commerce; and prevent truck drivers from complying with Federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations by coercing them under threat of local fine to operate in violation of said regulations when they have reached the maximum number of allowable driving hours.
Further, SBTC cited U.S. Department of Labor statistics indicating more than 600 federal workers have been murdered on the job in the last decade.
This number includes many truck drivers who SBTC says are being “gunned down in the middle of the night when they are unable to locate safe places to park.”
Additionally, SBTC also formally requested Springfield’s “truck parking management plan, if any exists” and offers this warning to city officials.
Upon our review of your city’s impact on interstate commerce and truck drivers operating in interstate transportation, the SBTC will determine if legal action may be required to uphold the rights of drivers passing through your jurisdiction who are adversely affected by your local ordinances and enforcement practices, including but not limited to, a United States Department of Justice Pattern & Practices Investigation.
SBTC is also embroiled in a battle against the leaders of Midland, Texas, after a “discriminatory” city ordinance was adopted last year which allows the city to fine truckers parked illegally on private/commercial property up to $500.
In an exclusive interview with TNN, Lamb said it is a matter of respect. “You can’t treat truckers this way,” he said. “You can’t treat working people like that and single them out based on their occupation. You can’t pass discriminatory policy against trucks.”
TNN will continue to monitor developments in this story and bring them to you as they happen.