Senate committee 'dismayed' with delay in opening U.S.-Mexico border

| Friday, July 21, 2006

A Senate committee scolded the “disappointing results” of FMCSA officials in moving toward the opening of the U.S.-Mexico border to Mexican motor carriers.

A report released by the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee took to task the slow response by states to comply with rules issued by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that would ultimately facilitate opening the border to Mexican trucks.

The committee’s disappointment dates back to before 2002.

Before the 2002 Transportation Appropriations Act mandated that safety requirements must be met for Mexican motor carriers to enter the U.S., meetings were held discussing the steps FMCSA officials had made to move forward on opening the border to Mexican trucks.

In those meetings the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General pointed out that, even though FMCSA issued a rule requiring states authorize their enforcement personnel to take action when they encounter a vehicle without valid operating authority, only two states had taken action at that time.

And now, three years later – and well after FMCSA’s Sept. 30, 2003, deadline for states to comply – some states still have not provided that authority.

“The committee is frustrated and dismayed to learn of the slow responsiveness by several states in complying with this federal requirement,” according to the report.

One disappointment outlined in the report is that the provision mandating the opening of the border to Mexican trucks requires all inspectors of Mexican trucks place a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance decal showing the vehicle meets all of the necessary requirements.

“Given the Agency’s disappointing results in compelling compliance by the states … the Committee directs the Administrator to redouble … efforts and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that states come into full compliance with all the safety requirements and intent set forth” by Congress.

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