COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster yesterday joined Operation Open Roads, a joint effort among 15 Republican Governors to combat the supply chain crisis ahead of the holiday season. In addition, the Governor today issued Executive Order 2021-40 to suspend certain commercial vehicle regulations and provide transportation waivers to support and strengthen South Carolina's supply chain.
In a joint letter, Operation Open Roads calls upon the Biden Administration to: "Further, we call on the Biden Administration to suspend outdated federal regulations that unnecessarily require commercial driver’s license holders to be 21 years old and lower the age to 18 years old so that well-trained,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. In addition, we call on President Biden to suspend the burdensome federal mandate for COVID-19 vaccines for all private employees, specifically for the trucking and transportation industry so that driver shortages are not further exacerbated by an additional barrier to employment. Further, we call on the Biden Administration to review and revise any federal policies that deter use or domestic manufacturing of essential transportation equipment, including intermodal containers, chassis, and automobiles, trucks, and tractor trailers. Finally, we call on President Biden to halt attempts to raise taxes, spend trillions more in taxpayer dollars, and grow the debt, all of which will cripple the American economy and spur inflation causing sky high consumer prices for American families."
The Governor's executive order waives or suspends application or enforcement of certain state and federal regulations pertaining to registration, permitting, size, and hours of service for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles. The order also calls upon state agencies to evaluate statutes and regulations that if modified will provide relief to the supply chain. This will give South Carolina's ports and businesses additional tools to more efficiently move cargo statewide.
To date, South Carolina has weathered the supply chain crisis through long-term preparation that has kept the Charleston Port open for business, and through the strategic use of Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds that have provided retraining programs for high-demand career fields like truck driving. From January to October of this year, 283 South Carolinians received their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) through the program.
Most recently, Governor McMaster announced a $17 million expansion of the program through the creation of the Workforce Scholarships for the Future pilot program, while advocating for further investment by the General Assembly. The program uses GEER funds to address workforce shortages by providing scholarships to cover the cost of tuition and required fees at any technical college in high-demand fields, including those South Carolinians seeking a CDL.