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Trucks carrying military vehicles awaiting permits overnight at state line
BALDWIN COUNTY, ALA. - More than a dozen trucks hauling expensive military equipment into Florida were forced to wait at the state line in Alabama overnight. The drivers say Florida's Department of Transportation is taking longer than other states to process wide load permit applications.
Millions of dollars of military equipment was left sitting out at a truck stop. The big rigs are hauling the armored personnel carriers to Jacksonville from Slidell, Louisiana.
"This is military equipment," said Dean Faber, a truck driver, "There's ships over there waitin' on it. And we're all over here waiting for Florida permits."
The drivers say as much as they do enjoy the Oasis truck stop off Interstate Ten, they'd really like to move on.
"It's not right, you know," Faber said, "It needs to be there."
Nearly 50 of them are making the trip and not all of them have been at the truck stop overnight. Some just arrived this morning. But Florida Department of Transportation authorities confirm many of their applications for wide load permits were filed yesterday.
Derek Irwin, another truck driver, said, "Florida takes forever to get permits to us."
He and other truckers say the long wait is par for the course.
"It takes anywhere between 24 to 48 hours to get a permit once we've filed it," Irwin said.
As for permits for the other states he just passed through, Irwin said, "I had them within 45 minutes. I had Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, all within the hour."
I called the Defense Department to see what they could tell me about the military vehicles and so far I have not received a response. A spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation says the wide load applications are supposed to be processed within four to eight hours, and they say applications should be turned in two to three days ahead of time.
While we were at the truck stop, a few trucks were issued permits to move on.
State authorities say every truck has to go through the same process and that it can't be sped up for anyone, even for drivers hauling military equipment.