Senator Grove’s Bill to Relieve the Supply Chain Crunch at California’s Ports was Voted Down

Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) announced her bill SB 1356, was voted down in the Senate Transportation Committee with a vote of 3-5. SB 1356 would have increased the maximum allowable gross weight of fuel haulers from 80,000 pounds to 88,000 pounds, to match the increased weight allowed for other trucks under the Governor’s Executive Order, N-19-21.

California’s ports have experienced increased year-over-year levels of cargo volume. Despite the efforts by all sectors of the supply chain, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted the goods movement system in California and across the nation. It has also highlighted the fragility of the goods movement sector and the supply chain. For example, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been handling an unprecedented number of ships arriving at the same time. Disruptions in transportation and warehouse availability have slowed the offloading of containers and have contributed to a backlog.

Governor Newsom announced on November 17, 2021 that Caltrans would begin issuing temporary permits allowing trucks to carry heavier loads of up to 88,000 pounds on State Highway and Interstate routes between the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and other statewide ports, and distribution centers throughout the state.

“This critical legislation would have taken the Governor’s temporary exemption and applied it permanently to all fuel trucks throughout the state,” said Senator Grove. “We need long-term solutions that will not only reduce emissions and help alleviate congestion on the road, but will also reduce the amount of drivers it will take to transport fuel. With California’s wildfire season right around the corner, SB 1356 also would have allowed fuel haulers to transport more fuel, which would aid firefighters as they are battling wildfires across our state.”  

In certain circumstances, the state already allows exemptions for truckers to exceed the maximum pound limit. For example, vehicles transporting logs, or cotton module movers both have exemptions. This bill would have simply allowed fuel haulers to safely use these same exemptions. SB 1356 would have put into law what the Governor’s exemption already recognizes, that fuel haulers can safely increase the gross weight they are allowed to haul. The bill also would have helped the state improve its supply of fuel in times of need like during COVID and the fire season.