For the Record

Truckers News Staff | December 01, 2011

Oklahoma City (19.8 percent) topped the chart for metro areas between 1-2 million, as did Tulsa, Okla. (27.5 percent), for metro areas between 500,000-1 million.

At the other end of the spectrum, the metro areas that had the smallest percentage of deficient bridges are Orlando, Fla. (0.60 percent), for the largest metro areas; Las Vegas (0.20 percent) for midsized metro areas; and Fort Myers, Fla. (0.30 percent), for smaller metro areas.

“There are more deficient bridges in our metropolitan areas than there are McDonald’s restaurants in the entire country,” says James Corless, director of Transportation for America — 18,239 versus roughly 14,000 McDonald’s. “These metropolitan-area bridges are most costly and difficult to fix, but they also are the most urgent, because they carry such a large share of the nation’s people and goods.”

Nearly 70,000 bridges nationwide are rated “structurally deficient” and are in need of substantial repair or replacement, according to federal data. Metropolitan-area bridges carry 75 percent of the trips that are made on structurally deficient bridges, Corless says.


Mexican truck crosses border under new program

Jill Dunn

Mexico had approved three U.S. carriers to deliver beyond its border by Oct. 21, when the first Mexican carrier crossed into Laredo, Texas, marking the beginning of a new cross-border pilot program with Mexico and the end of retaliatory tariffs on American goods.

Mexican and U.S. officials gathered at the World Trade Bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, for the event. Transportes Olympic hauled a drilling tower nearly 10 feet high destined for Garland, Texas.

Monterrey-based Transportes Olympic has been approved for two trucks and two drivers.

The Oct. 21 delivery beyond the commercial border zone highlighted the end of more than two years of tariffs of 5 to 25 percent on 99 U.S. goods. On July 8 Mexico dropped 50 percent of tariffs and promised to end the remaining tariffs five days after the first Mexican carrier received operating authority.

On Oct. 20, the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General announced it was beginning its interim report to Congress on the pilot program, in accordance with 2007 law.

Its audit objectives will be to decide if it will have sufficient data to determine if the program reduces trucking safety and if monitoring and enforcement activities can ensure program compliance. The OIG will also measure if program participants are a representative and adequate sample of Mexican carriers that would seek cross-border operations.

All trucks that participate in the program will carry GPS-capable electronic onboard recorders to ensure hours-of-service compliance and to monitor trucks to and from assigned U.S. destinations.

Also, FMCSA will review the driving records of each driver and require U.S. labs to analyze all drug testing samples before that driver receives approval.

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