Mexican cross-border trucking: U.S. Court of Appeals rules for the U.S. DOT

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief | 7/6/2017

A federal court has ruled in favor of the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding the cross-border trucking program with Mexico. A combined legal challenge by the Teamsters and intervenor OOIDA was argued March 15 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The court announced the ruling June 29.

Congress originally ordered the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct a pilot program before granting long-haul operating authority to Mexican-domiciled carriers.  In the first legal showdown, before the pilot program began, the D.C. Circuit rejected truckers’ challenge to the lawfulness of the agency’s plan for the pilot program. At that time, the D.C. Circuit ruled that U.S. law permits Mexican truckers to use their Mexican-issued CDLs for the pilot program.

In the latest challenge, the Teamsters and OOIDA argued that the DOT pilot program’s meager participation and results were inadequate. In San Francisco last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Court denied the petitions for review of the DOT’s order. The court held it did not have the authority to make a decision about the sufficiency of the agency’s pilot program.

The court also denied OOIDA’s argument that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lacked statutory authority to issue permits for U.S. long-haul operations to Mexico-domiciled trucking companies whose drivers did not have a U.S. CDL. The three-judge panel’s reason for rejecting the argument was that the D.C. Circuit court had already decided in the first challenge that it was permissible, although that holding appeared to be limited to the pilot program.

The court’s panel consisted of Circuit Judges Kim McLane Wardlaw; Ronald M. Gould and Consuelo M Callahan.

Meanwhile, another OOIDA cross-border suit was argued May 2 in the Fifth Circuit appellate court in New Orleans. That Circuit also decided that it did not have the authority to hear a challenge to the agency’s decision to grant permanent, nationwide, operating authority to Mexico-domiciled motor carriers.

Related article:
OOIDA’s cross-border lawsuits: Pending here, pending there

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