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Tipsheet

GOP Governors Launch 'Operation Open Roads' to Cut Regulations, Get Supply Chain Moving

AP Photo/Nick Ut

As Americans continue to suffer under the supply chain crisis that remains unmitigated and even mocked by the Biden administration, Republican governors are taking action to propose a solution to get the country's goods moving again. 

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"Operation Open Roads" is the name of the plan hatched by 15 Republican governors that aims to alleviate the pain caused by a broken supply chain. "Getting goods to market is a fundamental baseline of our open economy," noted the governors in a joint letter to President Biden.

The coalition is made up of Governors Bill Lee (TN), Doug Ducey (AZ), Ron DeSantis (FL), Brian Kemp (GA), Brad Little (ID), Kim Reynolds (IA), Larry Hogan (MD), Mike Parson (MO), Greg Gianforte (MT), Pete Ricketts (NE), Doug Burgum (ND), Mike DeWine (OH), Kevin Stitt (OK), Henry McMaster (SC), and Greg Abbott (TX).

"Rather than unleashing the economy, President Biden dramatically increased regulations and rulemaking authority that prevent private sector growth," the letter explains. "With 7.4 million people unemployed and 10.4 million job openings, we have a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers, an all-time high for the trucking industry," a problem Townhall previously reported here

The Republican governors than enumerate the damage Biden's policies — and subsequent inaction to remedy issues those policies created — have wrought:

Higher gas prices and energy costs not only hurt American families, but they also hurt our trucking and shipping industries, making it harder to stock store shelves. Disruptions due to supply shortages increased 638% during the first half of 2021 for essential products, including semiconductor chips, plastics, and cardboard. The delay of shipping vessels arriving to North American ports from Asia has ballooned from 14 hours in June 2020 to 13 days in September 2021. Supermarkets are receiving 40% of what they order compared to pre-pandemic fulfillments of 90%. Approximately 40% of U.S. shipping containers pass through west coast ports that sit in a logjam, and yet our east coast ports remain open for business. Problems are exacerbated by critical shortages in containers, chassis, and drivers to unload and move goods. Once again, where the Biden administration has failed the American people, our governors will step up to lead.

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The Republican leaders point to regulations governing the trucking industry as one area in which small changes can allow for more productivity and better flow along America's supply chains, and therefore will be focusing their efforts there. The governors' letter promises to use their authority where allowable 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 where appropriate

Outside of their authority, the Republican governors asked President Biden to "suspend 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." They also renewed their calls for Biden to rescind the federal vaccine mandate "so that driver shortages are not further exacerbated by an additional barrier to employment."

These steps, say the Republican governors, will "ensure greater efficiency, connectivity, and data sharing" throughout the supply chain including ports, storage facilities, and intrastate corridors. The governors leading states with coastal ports pledged to have them operating at "full capacity" while taking action to increase their ability to accept "Panamax" ships currently parked and waiting off the west coast. 

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"As we approach the holiday season, our states are committed to ensuring the free and fast flow of commerce," the letter adds. "If we can get government out of the way, our trucking industry can safely do what it does best: move. Our state economies are on the rise, and Operation Open Roads will help reinforce America's economy comeback."

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