Members of the Mid-America Association of State Transportation Officers are coordinating strategies to better keep the supply chain of critical goods and services intact across the central United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those states include: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio.
[Above photo by the Wisconsin DOT.]
The collaborative COVID-19 response covers several areas: Permitting overweight freight shipments, making it easier to ship crucial supplies; easing regulations on Commercial Driver License holders, ensuring the maximum number of motor carrier drivers are available to move freight; limiting public exposure at motor vehicle service centers; issuing social distancing guidance to contractors so construction projects can proceed while maximizing worker protection against the virus.
“Meeting the challenge of the pandemic will require that we can get vital goods like food and medical supplies where they are needed,” explained Craig Thompson, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and president of MAASTO, in a statement.
“Supply chains don’t stop at state borders,” he added. “We need to be working with other states, especially our neighbors in the middle of the country, to make sure we do what is needed to remove barriers that would impede response and recovery.”
“As departments of transportation around the country work to keep the nation’s transportation system functional, it is now more important than ever that we reach out and collaborate and learn from each other,” noted Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation and 2019-2020 president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
“Because of the evolving nature of the public health emergency, [this] will helps us problem solve and work toward a unified solution to the supply chain challenges,” added Julie Lorenz, secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation and MAASTO vice president. “The emergency isn’t happening in a vacuum, we have a responsibility to support each other today and set a good path for recovery in the future.”