James Bennett, Florida Department of Transportation District Two Urban Transportation Development manager, spoke to the North Florida Logistics Advisory Group Friday and introduced Austin Chapman as the interim District Two freight and logistics coordinator.
“We are changing our focus a bit, not just looking at highways from a passenger standpoint as far as cars and commuters, but we are also looking at how the systems affect freight,” said Bennett.
The department created the Office of Freight, Logistics and Passenger Operations in its Intermodal Systems Development Division to assist with Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to establish Florida as a global hub for trade, logistics and export-oriented manufacturing activities.
Juan Flores was appointed State freight and logistics administrator and is developing the district freight and logistics coordinator program.
“This is a new direction for us and we have started to identify a person in each one of our districts that will actually be taking a closer look at that and will be trying to coordinate information on that,” said Bennett.
Chapman was introduced as the interim District Two freight and logistics coordinator Friday. The department recently began advertising the position.
“One of the things that we would like to take away from this today is that if you have any ideas about things we can do to modify our roadways to improve logistics, we would be interested in that as well,” said Bennett.
The Office of Freight, Logistics and Passenger Operations will work in coordination with its seven district offices in establishing freight coordinators to develop a freight plan that best serves the diverse urban and rural segments throughout the state.
District Two serves 18 counties including Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns.
While the department has expanded its focus to include freight and logistics, it will continue to oversee the implementation of statewide transit program, including policy development and coordination with the Federal Transit Administration and other partners.
The Florida Department of Transportation has begun to re-access the development of state roadways to consider both the needs of the commuter and commerce and will employ a freight and logistics coordinator in each district to gather information about how to better serve businesses throughout the state.