Bill clearing way for autonomous vehicles vetoed in Kentucky

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Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, April 11, 2024:

Kentucky governor vetoes autonomous vehicle bill

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on April 5 vetoed a bill that would have cleared the way for autonomous vehicles to operate in the state.

HB 7 was passed by the state’s House and Senate before being shot down by the governor.

The bill would have allowed certain fully autonomous vehicles to operate without a human driver, as long as the vehicle met certain conditions.

Had the bill become law, vehicles with a declared gross weight and any towed unit over 62,000 pounds, the bill would have required, through July 31, 2026, “a human driver, with the appropriate credentials to operate the vehicle, present in the vehicle to monitor the performance of the vehicle and intervene if necessary.”

[Related: Martin Brower utilizing Kodiak trucks on autonomous lane]

Saia opens two new terminals

Saia Inc. (CCJ Top 250, No. 19) announced that Saia LTL Freight has opened two new terminals across its growing network. One facility is open in Garland, Texas, while another is open in Missoula, Montana.

Saia’s second Garland terminal will be the fourth for the company in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and the 21st facility for the company in Texas. The new terminal in Missoula will be the first Saia has opened in Montana. The two new terminals will provide expanded service, allowing the company to support customer demand in these markets.

“We’re eager to add coverage across our network,” said Saia Executive Vice President of Operations Patrick Sugar. “These new terminals were built, or renovated, to enable us to provide our customers with enhanced service so we can meet their supply chain needs.”

Saia’s geographic expansion began in 2017 with four terminal openings in the Northeast. As of today, the company has opened 49 facilities, not only in the Northeast, but across its legacy markets. With each opening, we've seen our service offering continue to improve, a success attributable to the support of our team members.

“Beyond these two, we intend to open another 16 to 17 new terminals over the next several months, in addition to relocating several existing facilities to larger or strategically advantageous locations to reduce shipping time, improve pickup and delivery flexibility, and increase capacity in key areas,” Sugar explained.

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[Related: XPO, Estes, Saia, Knight-Swift among winners in Yellow terminal auction]

Roadrunner opens former Yellow terminal in Atlanta

Roadrunner (No. 111) has opened a new LTL service center in Atlanta, the company announced Wednesday.

The two-building, cross-docking facility has 75 doors, a complete on-site mechanical shop with three full bays and inspection lane, parking for more than 300 trailers, new electric security fencing and gate access, and renovated offices. Roadrunner also equipped its newest facility with showers and a lounge area for its drivers.

The terminal formerly belonged to Yellow Corporation and has gone through extensive renovation.

"Our new Atlanta service center is a true cross-docking facility, enabling us to improve the efficiency of our operations throughout our expansive network, and increase both the output and throughput of the Atlanta market," said Tomasz Jamroz, Chief Operating Officer at Roadrunner. "It provides more doors and a larger area for us to enhance our operations, using our Smart Technology. Atlanta plays a key role in our operations and aligns with our goal of providing smart long-haul LTL with the fewest number of rehandlings possible."     

This facility is the first to feature Roadrunner's Flagship Driver Lounges, which will be similar to airport lounges, but offer amenities exclusively for Linehaul Independent Contractor drivers. Roadrunner will be opening them in Commerce, California, and Dallas later this year.

The new location follows other enhancements to the metro-to-metro LTL carrier's network which recently launched service into Montreal and Toronto, Canada, as well as Portland, Oregon. Earlier this year, the carrier added 135 lanes to its network, which built upon new market openings in Kansas City, Denver, Richmond, and Las Vegas. It also expanded service in Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Northeastern United States.

[Related: Who were the winner's of Yellow's terminal auction?]