More big rigs doing the FEMA shuffle

| 9/21/2005

Truckers hauling loads for the Federal Emergency Management Agency have at least one thing in common with Hurricane Rita: nobody knows for sure which way they're going to go.

FEMA ordered hundreds of trucks loaded with ice into staging areas across the south to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. Now, with more ice than is needed, many trucks are being directed northward.

The most recent trucks have been sent as far north as Portland, ME, according to The Associated Press.

One driver, OOIDA member Ricky Gosnell, told The AP that he drove 550 miles from his home in South Carolina to Selma, AL, with 46,000 pounds of ice only to sit there for a week. Gosnell said he was then sent - along with 200 other truckers - to an AmeriCold Logistics warehouse in Portland, ME.

"This is a bad use of taxpayers' money to do this," he said. "Why send it here?"

Debbie Wing, a spokeswoman for FEMA, told The AP that hundreds of trucks were being sent to storage facilities across the country to store the ice and supplies for future use.

"We don't waste commodities," she said. "We store it for future needs for future disasters."