FMCSA claims snafu led to posting incorrect Baja application

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | 3/26/2012

Responding directly to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s protest to Baja Express’ application to the cross-border program, an FMCSA official claims the agency made an error in posting an “incomplete” version of the company’s application.

OOIDA filed formal comments protesting the application by Baja Express to participate in the cross-border trucking program with Mexico. The Association’s comments pointed out that Baja Express’ application did not reveal any affiliations with other motor carriers. However, OOIDA research revealed connections with at least two motor carriers – one still in operation in the border zone.

“We do … acknowledge that OOIDA’s letter correctly noted that Baja Express is affiliated with Carlos Tirado Valdez,” the letter from William Quade, FMCSA associate administrator for Enforcement and Program Delivery, to OOIDA President Jim Johnston stated.

“Baja Express had not indicated this relationship on its original application. Prior to conducting the PASA on Baja Express, FMCSA learned of the relationship between Baja Express and Carlos Tirado Valdez. Baja Express updated its application to correct this error, and to reflect the relationship with this other commercial zone carrier.”

Quade went on to explain that FMCSA posted the original, “incomplete” version of Baja Express’ application to the FMCSA website.

The letter also dismisses the Association’s protest to the answers provided to the PASA – which also failed to disclose affiliations – as “outside the scope” of the notice for comment posted by FMCSA to the Federal Register.

“This letter clearly shows the agency is scraping the bottom of the barrel to generate participation in this program,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said.

“What’s next? Recruiting carriers? No. They’re already doing that. The only step left for the agency is to fill out the paperwork for these motor carriers.”

Spencer also pointed out that the agency’s dismissal of OOIDA’s assertion that perjury was committed when answering the PASA questions is unconscionable.

“Baja Express did not answer the PASA questions truthfully in light of the company’s other affiliations. I am certain that a U.S. motor carrier that knowingly lies on authority applications is not handled with such kid gloves by the agency.”

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