Official: Cross-border program in trouble

Updated May 26, 2012

The U.S.-Mexico cross-border trucking pilot program may fail unless more Mexican carriers elect to join, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration official said on Wednesday, May 23. To date, Mexican trucks have entered the United States only 33 times under the program, according to William Quade, FMCSA’s associate administrator for enforcement and program delivery.

“The agency is extremely concerned about not having sufficient data,” Quade told the agency’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee at its meeting in Alexandria, Va. Without more participation, FMCSA cannot collect adequate data to evaluate Mexican carriers’ safety, resulting in the program’s failure, Quade said.

The pilot program’s rebirth sprung from talks between President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon that yielded a July 2011 deal. Mexico had imposed billions in tariffs on American imports, citing violations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, after the United States ended the initial pilot program in 2009 under political pressure and protests from the Teamsters and other interests.

Quade told MCSAC that to date, only three Mexican trucking companies have sent a total of three drivers and three trucks across the border, accounting for all of the trips. The largest Mexican trucking firms haven’t applied due to uncertainty over the program and insurance issues, he said.

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