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Issue Background

Cross-Border Trucking

  • By the end of the program, 5,545 inspections and 28,225 crossings have occurred; two carriers account for 81% of all inspections and 91% of all crossings – with the vast majority of miles traveled (85%) occurring within the commercial zone.
  • 76% of border crossings occurred at only one border crossing station.
  • 134 OOS violations have been issued throughout the program. In calendar year 2014, only ONE state inspection occurred outside of the Border States. FMCSA data makes it clear that Mexican carriers are not being placed OOS for the same violations or at the same rate as US-based carriers, yet they are supposed to be operating under the same rules and regulations.
  • 351 enterprise carriers were given operating authority from 2011-2014 during the pilot program’s duration, but only 15 carriers participated in the pilot program.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed in 1993 laid out a timeline that would allow Mexican trucking operations within U.S. Border StatesBut it wasn’t until 2007 when a “demonstration project” announced by the Department of Transportation would allow Mexican carriers (other than enterprise or certificate carriers) to operate within the U.S. border. The project was eliminated by Congress in the FY2009 omnibus appropriations bill, resulting in Mexico launching retaliatory trade tariffs against U.S. agricultural products which cost approximately $2 billion. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between President Obama and then-Mexican President Filipe Calderon ended the tariffs and set the groundwork for the pilot program that started in 2011 and expired on October 2014.

Congress required that the “number of participants in [the]pilot program must be large enough to ensure statistically valid findings. However, only 13 carriers participated out of 132,000 Mexican-domiciled carrierstwo carriers dropped out of the program, eight carriers have withdrawn their applications to participate, fourteen have been dismissed, and three failed the pre-authority safety audit (PASA)—this indicates that more carriers have withdrawn, been dismissed, or failed their PASA (27) than there are carriers with operating authority (13).

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) submitted a report to FMCSA outlining its concerns with the management of the program. The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its final report on the program in December 2014 sharing MCSAC’s concerns that data on the pilot program is inconclusive. FMCSA responded a month later claiming that data from “enterprise” carriers (carriers that are at least 55% owned by a Mexican entity but domiciled in the U.S.) is sufficient to determine the safety and fitness of Mexican carriers to conduct long-haul operations in the U.S., even though the MOU signed in 2011 was contingent upon the performance of pilot program participants and not enterprise carriers.

Read: OOIDA Foundation Research on the Mexican Long-Haul Trucking Pilot Program

Read: Cross-border failed. How many ways do we have to say it?

Read: FMCSA to open border to long-haul trucking from Mexico

Read: Regulatory Comments Archive (under “US Department of Transportation” click on “expand/collapse” next to “Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration” and scroll down to .pdf documents under “Cross-Border Trucking”)

Read: OOIDA v. U.S. Department of Transportation et al

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