RHODE ISLAND. Trucks violating the state’s weight restriction on the I-95 bridge over the Pawtucket River are being fined $85 for the driver and $3,000 for the motor carrier for weight and axle violations. Weight on the bridge is limited to 18 tons.
TENNESSEE. Beginning Sept. 7, Tennessee Department of Transportation crews will reduce I-40 to one lane in each direction in Memphis until the week of Nov. 15. Crews will close the I-40 westbound entrance ramp from Front Street and Riverside Drive in mid-October through mid-November.
Bill sets cross-border trucking deadline
Next fiscal year’s federal transportation bill directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish and report on a cross-border trucking program with Mexico by October.
Sen. Patty Murray inserted the requirement in the Fiscal Year 2011 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill July 26. The Washington state Democrat added the language to S. 3644 to end retaliatory tariffs Mexico instituted last year following Congress’ vote to discontinue the pilot project program, which allowed a limited number of carriers from both nations to deliver beyond the commercial border zone.
The amendment requires the program to maintain road safety, enhance efficient movement of commerce and eliminate retaliatory tariffs on agricultural products.
The bill passed the Senate subcommittee, which Murray chairs, and the Appropriations committee, and will go to the full Senate for consideration.
President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderón discussed cross-border trucking May 19, but the issue was not resolved, according to a congressional report released last month.
— Jill Dunn
Mexico adds more tariffs
The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association and the Teamsters union want the Obama administration to challenge Mexico for imposing more retaliatory tariffs.
In March 2009, Mexico placed tariffs on 89 U.S. products in response to the United States discontinuing its cross-border trucking program. On Aug. 16, Mexico increased to 99 the number of U.S. products with retaliatory tariffs, said Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative.
OOIDA’s Todd Spencer said Mexico should raise safety, security and environmental standards for its trucking industry, noting the U.S. should not be “blackmailed into lowering our standards.”