FILE - Republican Missouri Governor Mike Parson

Gov. Mike Parson.

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(The Center Square) – Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson joined governors from 13 states on Monday pledging to solve problems in the transportation and logistics industries and criticizing actions of the Biden Administration. Gov. Parson also signed an executive order creating the Missouri Supply Chain Task Force.

"Missourians, like many Americans, are deeply concerned about their rising grocery and energy bills, increasing delays for goods and services, and soaring inflation threatening their paychecks," the governor said in a statement. "The Biden Administration's continued attempts to tax, spend, and regulate its way out of this crisis have failed. We are committed to doing what we can at the state level to fix this crisis and to get us back on track, but we need the federal government to get on board or get out of the way."

“Operation Open Roads” outlined the ways the governors will use their authority in their respective states to increase efficiency, market access and reduce government regulations. It calls for the Biden administration to drop the age requirement for commercial driver’s license holders from 21 to 18 years of age.

Parson joined the governors of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas in signing the document.

“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,” the document stated. “With more paychecks at risk, American families are forced to pay more for food, gas, and everyday goods as inflation surges to a 30-year high under President Biden’s watch.”

The document cites research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finding adding as little as 12 minutes of additional allowable driving time per day would significantly influence outcomes in the trucking industry.

The document also demands an end to federally mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for the trucking and transportation industry and all private businesses. It also asks President Biden to end attempts to raise taxes and spend trillions in additional taxpayer dollars, resulting in higher federal debt and inflation.

Public and private stakeholders from throughout the state will comprise the new Missouri Supply Chain Task Force. In addition to identifying improvements and solutions to supply chain problems in the state, it will engage with surrounding states to enhance efficient interstate commerce. Rail, freight, air and marine modes of transportation will be reviewed. Any recommendations requiring legislative action will be considered a priority.

"This is a national crisis that requires coordination across all levels of government and between public and private partners,” Parson said in a statement. “By signing this Order and supporting this initiative, we are acknowledging the threat and working to mitigate the negative impacts on Missourians. Missouri agencies and stakeholders have already begun identifying ways to improve and strengthen our transportation infrastructure and workforce, and this Task Force will complement and further that work, while prioritizing prompt and meaningful solutions."

Task force members, appointed by the Parson, include the director of the Missouri Department of Transportation or their designee, the director of the Office of Workforce Development within the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development or their designee, a logistics provider, a modal operator, a large freight generating or receiving business, a representative from a workforce development board and a member of one of Missouri’s regional councils for supply chain management. The task force will dissolve and terminate on June 30, 2022, unless reauthorized by the Parson.

This article originally ran on thecentersquare.com.

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