Washington – The Department of Transportation on April 8 revealed a proposed cross-border trucking program that officials say aims to prioritize safety while satisfying international trade obligations.
According to a notice (.pdf file) published in the April 13 Federal Register, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to conduct a pilot program to test the ability of Mexico-based motor carriers to operate safely in the United States beyond established border commercial zones and municipalities for up to three years. U.S. motor carriers would be granted reciprocal rights in Mexico for the same period.
Mexican motor carriers would be required to comply with all applicable U.S. laws and regulations, including those regarding motor carrier safety. The deadline for comment on the notice is May 13.
The new pilot program is part of FMCSA’s implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement cross-border long-haul trucking provisions. After a previous cross-border pilot program was canceled in 2009, Mexico retaliated by imposing tariffs on U.S. goods.
The Grain Valley, MO-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has criticized the program and DOT’s plans to fund installation of electronic onboard recorders in approved Mexican motor carriers.