Today, Governor Scott announced that in order to capitalize on the expansion of the Panama Canal and to strengthen Florida's position as a leader in international trade, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) implemented administrative rule changes to reduce the regulatory burden on trucks, while protecting the integrity of Florida's infrastructure and preserving our commitment to safe mobility on our roadways.
The implemented administrative rule changes will:
Streamline the permitting process for applicants
Provide 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
Increase the number of days for which a trip permit is valid from 5 days to 7 days
Increase the maximum gross vehicle weight allowed for sealed containerized cargo units from 95,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds, and
Reduce the number and/or type of escorts required when traveling on a limited access facility.
These changes advance Governor Scott's vision to make Florida the trade gateway for America. A properly permitted sealed truck container can now haul the same weight levels as other surrounding states thereby allowing Florida's farmers and manufacturers to ship and receive goods through Florida ports that previously went through other states, therefore more jobs for Florida families.
Governor Rick Scott said, "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. 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."
FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad said, "By implementing these rule changes, we are not only enabling freight to flow better but ensuring that Florida remains competitive. A level playing field leads to more business opportunities and good jobs for Florida families."
Roy Schleicher, JAXPORT Interim CEO said, "This move sends the message to our private sector partners that this state is good for their business and we will work to remove unnecessary obstacles so they can grow along with us. 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 Department's Office of Freight, Logistics and Passenger Operations and Office of Maintenance are focused on freight and trucking issues and are constantly working with the motor carrier industry and other stakeholders on ways to streamline processes without compromising public safety.
Louisa Lee, Regional Sales Manager for Norton Lilly International (agents for SeaFreight Line) said, "The State of Florida increasing their over the road weight limits to match those of surrounding states allows Florida ports and carriers like SeaFreight Line to compete on a level playing field with regards to cargo weights with other South Atlantic and Gulf ports such as Savannah, Charleston and Mobile."
Mary Lou Rajchel, President and CEO of the Florida Trucking Association said, "Florida's ports and freight distribution systems are vital components of the state's current and future economy. The Florida Trucking Association supports the Governor and the Florida Department of Transportation in their efforts to make Florida's freight logistics system more competitive with our surrounding states. As an essential industry that is the sole means of supply for more than 80% of the state's communities, Florida's trucking industry appreciates the critical role trucking plays in this equation. To that end, we look forward to the increased opportunities for collaboration and enterprise that will result from this increase in weight limits for containerized freight. "