FMCSA shuts down
NAFTA truck project
Mar 19, 2009 9:44 AM
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has terminated the demonstration project that allowed Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate in the United States.
The information was published in the Federal Register March 18. The termination became effective March 11. FMCSA said in the Federal Register notice that the demonstration project to implement certain trucking provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began in September 2007.
On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Appropriations Act that provides that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available under the legislation could be used "directly or indirectly, to establish, implement, continue, promote, or in any way permit a cross-border motor carrier demonstration program to allow Mexican-domiciled motor carriers to operate beyond the commercial zones along the international border between the United States and Mexico, including continuing, in whole or in part, any such program that was initiated prior to the date of the enactment of this Act."
After President Obama signed the legislation into law, Mexico objected to the provisions and announced it would take retaliatory actions against a range of US exports, which prompted the President to reconsider the situation.
The White House announced March 16 that "the President has tasked the Department of Transportation to work with the US Trade Representative and the Department of State, along with leaders in Congress and Mexican officials, to propose legislation creating a new trucking project that will meet the legitimate concerns of Congress and our NAFTA commitments. Senator Dorgan, the sponsor of the amendment that ended the program, has written to us to express his willingness to work with the administration in good faith to address this issue."
Meanwhile, FMCSA said in its notice that the agency has ceased processing applications by prospective project participants and has taken other necessary steps to comply with the Omnibus Appropriations Act provision.
In addition, as a condition of participating in the project, Mexico-domiciled motor carriers were required to submit to FMCSA Form OCE-46 (Request for Revocation of Registration). The form requests that any registration issued by FMCSA pursuant to the cross-border demonstration project be revoked upon termination of the project. The agency has processed these forms and revoked all registrations issued in connection with the cross-border demonstration project, according to the information.
The cross-border program has had opponents since its inception, including some members of Congress, the Teamsters, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, and Public Citizen.
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