Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced that the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) implemented administrative rule changes to reduce the regulatory burden on trucks that will streamline permitting and gain parity with other states on load limits in order to capitalize on the expansion of the Panama Canal and to strengthen Florida’s position as a leader in international trade.

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 to 7.
  • Increase the maximum gross vehicle weight allowed for sealed containerized cargo units from 95,000 pounds to 100,000 lbs.
  • Reduce the number and/or type of escorts required when traveling on a limited access facility.

“Florida’s ports and freight distribution systems are vital components of the state’s current and future economy.  The Florida Trucking Assn. supports the governor and the Florida Dept. of Transportation in their efforts to make Florida’s freight logistics system more competitive with our surrounding states,” Mary Lou Rajchel, president and CEO of the Florida Trucking Assn. said.  “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. ”

Scott said the changes advance his 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,” he saidin a statement.

“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 said. “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.”

“By implementing these rule changes, we are not only enabling freight to flow better but ensuring that Florida remains competitive,” FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad said. “A level playing field leads to more business opportunities and good jobs for Florida families.”

The FDOT’s Office of Freight, Logistics and Passenger Operations and Office of Maintenance is 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, Prasad said.