Democrat and Republican lawmakers in Georgia agree that logistics and moving freight across the state will be a key issue when they meet under the Gold Dome again in January 2020. To prepare for those discussions, a Joint Commission of the state House and Senate has been appointed to study and consider different options.
Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and Speaker of the House David Ralston have made their appointments to the Georgia Freight & Logistics Commission which was created by House Resolution 37 in the 2019 legislative session. The Commission is tasked with looking into Georgia’s freight and logistics network and finding ways to move freight more efficiently throughout Georgia. This, officials say, will spur economic growth and job creation
Duncan said the Freight & Logistics Commission will be charged with studying “how we can harness the logistics industry to provide transportation solutions to Georgia’s businesses and citizens.”
“Georgia’s economic prosperity has led to huge business and population growth,” said Duncan. “However, in many areas of our state, that growth has led to highway congestion.”
As created by legislation, the Commission includes three members of the Senate and three members of the House, six logistics professionals, four local government officials, and several leaders of organizations and state agencies.
Duncan appointed Senate Transportation Chairman Sen. Brandon Beach (R–Alpharetta), Sen. Steve Gooch (R–Dahlonega) and Sen. Burt Jones (R–Jackson) to the Commission.
Ralston appointed House Transportation Chairman Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) and Rep. Dale Rutledge (R-McDonough) to the Commission.
Beach and Tanner will co-chair the Commission.
Logistics professional appointed include: Rebecca Brewster, President and COO of the American Transportation Research Institute; George Powers, President and CEO of TradePort Logistics LLC.; and Stephanie Smith, Vice President of Supply Chain Development for The Home Depot; Brad Skinner, member of the Board of Directors of OmniTRAX; Rick Toole, Vice President & Georgia Division Manager at Alfred Benesch & Company; and Derrick Jackson, President of the South Atlantic Division for UPS.
Duncan also appointed officials Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore and Lowndes County Commissioner Mark Wisenbaker, Jr. Ralston appointed Mayor Eddie DeLoach of Savannah and Sole Commissioner Steve Taylor of Bartow County.
Representatives from the Georgia Municipal Association, Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, the Georgia and Metro Atlanta Chambers of Commerce, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia Ports Authority will serve in an ex-officio (non-voting) capacity.
“With the world’s busiest airport and the nation’s largest and fastest growing container port right here in Georgia, our Freight & Logistics Commission will work to meet the growing demand to move freight throughout our state and beyond,” said Ralston. “Georgia has a strong competitive advantage over other states in freight and logistics, and we are going to grow our lead by investing in infrastructure and bringing industry partners together.”
Ralston first mentioned the Commission during his address at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues Breakfast last January as the 2019 session kicked off. “We are going to seize the potential of our ocean and inland ports to continue expanding our economy,” Speaker Ralston said then. “To do so, we must have a freight logistics network that is second to none.”
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