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Overdrive Staff | December 01, 2011

— Jeff Crissey


Senator calls cross-border program ‘lax’

In his second letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood since May, the Senate transportation committee chairman expressed alarm over the U.S.-Mexico cross-border trucking pilot program.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s letter referred to “the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s lax oversight” of the program.

FMCSA was unavailable for comment.

The West Virginia Democrat said he was concerned about the first two Mexican carriers to pass pre-authorization safety audits, which the agency conducts on Mexican carrier applicants to verify program compliance.

The agency granted “permanent operating authority” to Transportes Olympic, based on its time in the previous FMCSA cross-border program and using the carrier’s “nearly three-year-old compliance review,” wrote Rockefeller, who heads the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee.

He also noted that Grupo Behr De Baja had cleared its PASA, though agency officials delayed granting authority so they could further investigate claims made by various organizations about that carrier.

Rockefeller has argued the program would threaten competitiveness of U.S. trucking firms, transfer the cost of safety upgrades on Mexican trucking fleets to Americans and fail to eliminate all of Mexico’s retaliatory actions.

After Congress voted to end the previous FMCSA cross-border program in 2009, Canacar, Mexico’s trucking trade association, filed a notice of arbitration against the United States. “If the U.S. complies with its NAFTA obligations, it would open up a huge market for Mexican carriers to utilize their competitive advantage,” Canacar’s notice stated.

— Jill Dunn


SHORT HAULS

INTERNET TRUCKSTOP announced its sponsorship of the Truckload Carriers Association’s Highway Angel program. The online load board provider said it will commit $75,000 to the program over two years.


CSA needs improvement, panel says

While data-related issues still dog the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance Safety Accountability enforcement mechanism after one year, trucking executives say more work is needed.

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