New Mexico bill would ease a cross-border truck rule

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 2/3/2011

While a potential future cross-border trucking program is getting a lot of attention nationally, an issue that could get notice in the New Mexico House is an effort to boost commercial activity coming from Mexico.

New Mexico law now limits special permitting for overweight vehicles to non-reducible loads.

Sponsored by Rep. Mary Helen Garcia, D-Dona Ana, the bill would provide special permits to operate overweight trucks for certain reducible loads within six miles of a port-of-entry facility on the state?s border with Mexico. Trucks weighing up to 96,000 pounds would be affected.

According to the bill?s fiscal impact report, reducible loads are defined as any load which can be altered by reducing the quantity of materials, such as construction tile or other building products.

A summary of the bill notes that because commercial vehicles in Mexico operate under different weight limits than trucks operating in New Mexico and Texas, some commercial reducible loads must be partially offloaded before crossing through border ports of entry.

The offloaded product must then be reloaded onto a second truck in Mexico before shipment across the border. Garcia points out that the process adds significant costs for both Mexican producers and U.S. buyers.

The bill is intended to eliminate the offloading/reloading process and allow affected loads to be delivered directly to warehouses, processing facilities and logistics yards near the border.

Garcia noted that the change would create a ?niche market? with unique benefit for the state because overweight limits at nearby Texas ports in El Paso cannot be similarly increased because of federal weight restrictions on the bridges crossing the Rio Grande.

The increased activity would also enhance the Santa Teresa port of entry as a truck logistics hub, adding traffic to the four major logistics facilities located there.

The bill ? HB24 ? is awaiting consideration in committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Mexico, click here.

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