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Governor increases capacity to transport critical supplies

 

March 31, 2020



Press release

HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock implemented Friday actions to increase the ability of commercial motor carrier vehicles to ensure a supply of food, medical supplies, farm inputs and feed and hay during the COVID-19 emergency.

The directive is not in response to shortages of food supplies. Montana’s food supply chain is essential and state and federal food safety inspectors are on the job. Additionally, licensed food manufacturers are operating and plan to continue operating at or above capacity. At this time, any shortages of food observed in grocery stores is temporary.

“By creating some flexibility for transport and deliveries during this challenging time, we can ensure Montana’s supply chain remains strong and food and medical supplies can get where they’re needed most without delay,” Bullock said.

Commercial drivers are required to operate their commercial motor vehicles in a safe and prudent manner and follow “hours of service” requirements if a driver needs an immediate rest. The directive does not require or allow fatigued rivers to operate a motor vehicle.

Additionally, the directive allows a 10 percent increase in the legal weight for commercial vehicles to maintain timely delivery of supplies and ensure Montana can properly respond to COVID-19.

COVID-19 has made assuring continued and reliable trucking of needed inputs and supplies for the people of Montana of vital importance. As the people of Montana pull together to protect one anther by engaging in social distancing, good hygiene, and changes to daily life, maintaining food and medical transport pipeline requires some regulatory flexibility.

Delays to farm input deliveries may threaten farmers’ ability to get in the fields in adequate time for planting or dealing with a crop emergence. Delays in feed and hay shipments cause ranchers to suffer unnecessary animal losses. And delays in the supply chain cause unneeded stress to the ability of grocery stores, farmers ranchers, and hospitals to provide critical services. This directive will make those delays less likely.

 

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