NASHVILLE, Tennessee. – Today Tennessee Governor and Chairman of the Republican Governors’ Public Policy Committee Bill Lee launched “Operation Open Road,” calling on the Biden administration to resolve the supply chain crisis by suspending heavy regulations. Lee, along with 14 other governors, have pledged to take state-level action to help the trucking industry.

“Republican governors across the country have pledged to do everything possible to resolve a growing supply chain crisis that has resulted in safeguarded ports and empty shelves,” said Governor Lee. “We call on the Biden administration to join us in Operation Open Road in suspending burdensome regulations on the trucking industry and thereby ensuring that small businesses and American consumers have access to the goods they need for the holiday season. “

Executive Decree 93

Lee signed Executive Decree 93 today by visiting apprentice truck drivers at TCAT Crossville. The order seeks to deregulate critical functions of trucking in Tennessee by:

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

Governor Lee participates 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 requirements

Participating Republican governors call on the Biden administration to join Operation Open Road by suspending binding regulations, including:

  • Suspend outdated federal regulations that unnecessarily require commercial driver’s license holders to be 21 and lower the age to 18 so well-trained and active adults can work beyond state borders.
  • Suspend the heavy federal mandate for COVID-19 vaccines for all private sector employees, especially for the trucking and transportation industry, so that driver shortages are not further exacerbated by an additional barrier to employment .
  • Review and revise all federal policies that deter the domestic use or manufacture of essential transportation equipment, including intermodal containers, chassis and automobiles, trucks and semi-trailers.
  • Stop spending that will raise taxes, raise inflation and hamper economic recovery.

State actions

The governors of Operation Open Road have pledged to use their authority to the extent possible to:

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

The cost of doing nothing

Operation Open Road states are calling on every governor, regardless of party affiliation, to join in resolving the transport crisis. A united front will have a ripple effect on the strength of our American workforce and economy. The cost of doing nothing includes:

  • Worsening supply shortages which have already increased by 638% in the first half of 2021 for essential products, such as semiconductor chips, plastics and cardboard.
  • Further worsening of delivery delays between North American ports and Asia, which fell from 14 hours in June 2020 to 13 days in September 2021.
  • Combined declines in supermarket orders that were 90% before the pandemic, but have fallen to 40%.
  • Exacerbate the shortage of 80,000 truckers.

The full initiative can be viewed here.