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COVID-19 INFORMATION

Gov. Lee Launches “Operation Open Road” to Tackle Supply Chain Woes During Holiday Season

14 governors call on Biden Administration to deregulate critical trucking functions, Lee signs EO 93
Monday, November 22, 2021 | 03:24pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor and Chairman of the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee, Bill Lee, launched “Operation Open Road,” calling on the Biden Administration to address the supply chain crisis by suspending burdensome regulations. Lee, along with 14 other governors, pledged to take action at the state level to assist the trucking industry.

“Republican governors across the country have committed to doing everything we can to solve a growing supply chain crisis that has resulted in backed up ports and empty shelves,” said Gov. Lee. “We call on the Biden Administration to join us in Operation Open Road by suspending burdensome regulations on the trucking industry and therefore ensuring small businesses and American consumers have access to the goods they need this holiday season.”

Executive Order 93

Lee signed Executive Order 93 today while visiting trucking apprentices at TCAT Crossville. The order works to deregulate critical trucking functions in Tennessee by:  

  • Directing the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to identify deregulation opportunities affecting the trucking industry and commercial drivers in Tennessee.
  • Directing the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to collaborate with other entities, including the Department of Military, Department of Correction, Department of Labor, Tennessee Board of Regents, Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology and private businesses, to increase CDL training and certification opportunities.
  • Encouraging third-parties to expand the types of CDL applicants and licensees who can participate in training and testing programs.

Gov. Lee is joined in Operation Open Road with 14 other states including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The joint initiative includes the following federal demands and state actions: 

Federal Demands

Participating Republican governors call on the Biden Administration to join in Operation Open Road by suspending burdensome regulations including:

  • Suspending outdated federal regulations that unnecessarily require commercial driver’s license holders to be 21 years old and lower the age to 18 years old so that well-trained, working adults can work across state borders. 
  • Suspending the burdensome federal mandate for COVID-19 vaccines for all private employees, specifically for the trucking and transportation industry so that driver shortages are not further exacerbated by an additional barrier to employment. 
  • Reviewing and revising any federal policies that deter use or domestic manufacturing of essential transportation equipment, including intermodal containers, chassis, and automobiles, trucks, and tractor trailers. 
  • Halting spending that will raise taxes, grow inflation and impede a recovering economy. 

State Actions

Operation Open Road governors have committed to using their authority where possible to: 

  • Modify weight, size, or load restrictions to allow more cargo to move more efficiently; adjust hours of service constraints to provide truck drivers more time and flexibility.
  • Deregulate education and occupational licensure barriers to get more commercial truck drivers on the road. 
  • Convene state agencies in transportation, commerce, workforce, and other related fields to coordinate with private industry, local governments, and neighboring states to ensure greater efficiency, connectivity, and data sharing among shippers and receivers at ports, distribution points, storage facilities, and other intrastate corridors for the expedited loading, unloading, and transport of freight. 
  • Coastal port states commit to increase tonnage capacity, and accept more Panamax ships waiting off the west coast.

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Operation Open Road states call on every governor, regardless of party affiliation, to join in addressing the transportation crisis. A united front will have ripple effects on the strength of our American workforce and economy. The cost of doing nothing includes: 

  • Worsening supply shortages that already increased 638% during the first half of 2021 for essential products, such as semiconductor chips, plastics, and cardboard.
  • Further worsening shipping delays between North American ports and Asia that have ballooned from 14 hours in June 2020 to 13 days in September 2021.  
  • Compound declines in supermarket fulfillments that were 90% pre-pandemic but have fallen to 40% fulfillment. 
  • Exacerbating the 80,000-trucker shortage. 

The full initiative can be viewed here.