Scott Hopes New Trucking Rules Lure More Business to Florida's Ports
Around the State
In an effort to reduce paperwork for truckers while making Florida’s ports more enticing to those shipping globally, Gov. Rick Scott announced regulations were being cut to help move cargo through the Sunshine State.
On Thursday, the governor’s office announced a series of administrative rule changes by the Florida Department of Transportation that are hoped to bring more trade through Florida’s ports.
“In the last three years, we’ve invested $421 million in Florida’s ports to make our state a hub for global commerce and job creation. In addition to our investments, we’ve eliminated 2,300 onerous regulations that hamper businesses growth -- and created an environment where businesses can grow jobs for Florida families,” Scott stated in a release.
“By streamlining operations we’ll better position Florida to capitalize on the increased trade opportunities that the expansion of the Panama Canal will bring to our communities.”
The changes would increase the amount permitted in a sealed truck container, putting the load at the same weight allowed in neighboring states, according to the governor’s office.
FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad stated the rules would improve the flow of freight and make Florida more competitive.
“A level playing field leads to more business opportunities and good jobs for Florida families,” Prasad stated.
The administrative rule changes include:
• Streamlining the permitting process for applicants.
• Providing the same level of service to both trip and blanket permit applicants by eliminating the requirement for trip permit applicants to submit a height survey letter prior to obtaining a permit for vehicles up to 18 feet in height
• Increasing the number of days for which a trip permit is valid, from five days to seven days.
• Increasing the maximum gross vehicle weight allowed for sealed containerized cargo units from 95,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds.
• Reducing the number and/or type of escorts required when traveling on a limited access facility.
The changes, which the governor’s office release states won’t compromise public safety, were supported by Florida Trucking Association President Mary Lou Rajchel and JaxPort interim CEO Roy Schleicher.
“Clearly, JaxPort will benefit as we compete head-to-head with ports in other states for cargo -- cargo which will bring jobs and dollars to North Florida.”
The rule changes come as Florida’s congressional delegation met Thursday in Washington, D.C., with officials from the state’s 15 seaports.
The idea of the caucus meeting was to show politically unified support for improving Florida’s 15 seaports, which support an estimated 550,000 jobs and produce $66 billion in annual economic activity.
“At a time when America faces unprecedented challenges, it is imperative that Washington put aside the poisonous rhetoric in favor of common-sense policies that move our state, our economy and our country forward,” U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, stated in a release after the meeting.
“Some people argue that it’s not possible to reshape the dialogue to a more public-spirited approach, but I believe that the Florida congressional delegation can lead by example – working together to do what’s right.”
Florida Ports Council President Doug Wheeler noted the federal government must uphold its responsibilities in funding needed for port infrastructure.
“With the state of Florida leadership already committed to creating jobs and improving freight movement, the Florida Ports Council also continues to advocate with the same focus on Capitol Hill,” Wheeler stated.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.