In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), expressed concern of U.S. DOT funding or EOBRs for Mexican carriers participating in the pilot program.
DeFazio called proposal that would require American taxpayers to subsidize Mexican truck compliance with American safety standards and regulations, “simply unacceptable.”
DeFazio pointed out to LaHood that under the previous pilot program, the agency spent $1.25 million on EOBRs for 27 carriers, who were allowed to keep the devices when the program ended. He also charged that under the President’s FY 2012 Budget request, FMCSA said it would use $4.3 million of its general operating expenses — which are funded through the Highway Trust Fund — to purchase Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) for Mexican carriers, and pay for monitoring.
“It is outrageous,” DeFazio said in his letter, “that U.S. truckers, through the fuel tax, will subsidize the cost of doing business for these Mexican carriers.”
In the letter, DeFazio also questioned granting Mexican carriers permanent operating authority from the U.S. Department of Transportation after 18 months in the pilot program. That permanent authority would not be rescinded were Congress or the Administration to terminate the Mexican truck pilot program.
“As I have said before, three issues must be addressed in the cross-border trucking program: safety, security and job loss,” DeFazio said. “I appreciate the Administration’s attempt to address the very serious safety and security concerns surrounding Mexican trucks, and I am glad we are beginning to address the extortionate Mexican tariffs unfairly slapped on American goods. However, taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the Mexican trucking industry to comply with American safety standards. It is outrageous that we would spend tax dollars to pay for equipment on Mexican trucks; equipment which either the Mexican government or the Mexican carriers themselves should be required to pay. I also question the authority to grant Mexican carriers permanent authority to operate on American roads and highways before a pilot program is complete and the results evaluated.”
DOT will grant Mexican carriers the same provisional operating authority it grants any new U.S. motor carrier seeking interstate authority. After 18 months, this authority becomes permanent indefinitely, provided the carrier does not have an egregious safety record or a lapse in insurance. This permanent authority will not be revoked – even if Congress or DOT terminates the pilot program, DeFazio points out. Further, carriers who participated in the pilot program DOT launched in 2007 will get credit for the number of months they operated in the U.S. when they re-apply under this new program. This means that some carriers will receive permanent authority almost immediately.
DeFazio has asked DOT to provide a written justification of how the planned program complies with the requirements for pilot programs under section 31315 of title 49, United States Code, as well as various appropriations provisions related to cross border trucking.
Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has said the final agreement to end a two-year-old trucking dispute with Mexico “should be weeks, if not days” away.
At a recent lunch with reporters, the Obama administration’s top trade negotiator said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Mexican Transportation Minister Humberto Trevino are close to signing the deal that will end a two-year standoff that has dearly cost American agriculture through retaliatory tariffs imposed by Mexico.
“This could not have been better news and it could not have happened soon enough” for California and Texas farm interests, said Kirk, a former Dallas mayor and Texas Secretary of State.
Government/Regulations: Related News
3/11/2011 – Rep. Defazio Opposes Funding for Mexican EOBRs, Questions Authority to Grant Mexican Carriers Permanent Access
In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), expressed concern of U.S. DOT funding or EOBRs for Mexican carriers participating in the pilot program….
3/10/2011 – FMCSA, Small Carrier Groups Settle CSA Suit
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has settled a suit by three trucking associations over information published in the CSA program.
The agency said in the Wednesday announcement that it will change the way it displays CSA safety scores, in response to the carrier groups’ contention that the original plan was flawed and should have gone through a public-comment procedure….
3/9/2011 – ATA Asks PHMSA to Block Roadside Hazmat Package Inspections
The American Trucking Associations asked the Obama administration to prevent the opening and inspection of hazardous materials shipments along the roadside, unless it is believed the shipment poses an imminent danger or does not comply with the hazardous materials regulations….
3/4/2011 – CARB Nears End of 90-Day Grace Period on 2003 TRUs
Owners of 2003-model-year transport refrigeration units have until the end of this month to meet new California Air Resources Board standards….
3/4/2011 – Retailers Say Shorter Hours for Truck Drivers Would Increase Costs and Congestion
The National Retail Federation told federal transportation officials this week that a proposal to limit the number of hours truck drivers spend behind the wheel each day would increase costs for businesses and consumers…
3/3/2011 – Bipartisan Group Urges Administration to Abandon Proposed HOS Changes
A bipartisan group of Congressmen and Senators called on the Obama administration to abandon its controversial hours-of-service proposal and retain the current safety rules.
“The rules currently in place are working well and do not need to be changed,” 122 representatives wrote to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood….
3/2/2011 – Cost of CSA Will Rise as Program Ramps Up
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created and launched its new CSA safety enforcement program with a small number of staff, outside contractors and existing budget, but now that the program is ramping up it will require considerably more resources, said the Government Accountability Office….
3/2/2011 – Texting Ban Announced for Hazmat Drivers
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a final rule this week prohibiting texting on electronic devices by drivers transporting hazardous materials….
3/2/2011 – GAO Study Examines Societal Costs of Transportation Modes
A study by the Government Accountability Office finds that shippers do not pay the full societal cost of freight service in any mode, but particularly in trucking.
External trucking costs, such as accidents, pollution and congestion, are six times greater than similar costs created by railroads and at least nine times greater than those created by waterways, GAO said in its report to the House Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures….
3/1/2011 – ATA Challenges Research in Hours of Service Proposal
The American Trucking Associations is upping its campaign against the Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s proposed changes to the hours of service rule.
ATA asked a researcher whose work the agency cites in support of the proposal to review the agency’s findings. Prof. Francesco Cappuccio, an epidemiologist at the Warwick Medical School in Coventry, U.K., replied that the work he participated in does not support the agency’s conclusions….
2/28/2011 – FMCSA Expands Pre-Employment Screening Program
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration added a new feature to the screening program that gives carriers a look at the history of a driver who is applying for a job.
The agency is making data available on co-driver safety and post-crash violations, in addition to the roadside inspection and crash records that employers already can see. …
2/25/2011 – CARB to Hold Free Seminars on Truck Emissions Rules
The California Air Resources Board will hold a free daylong seminar in Fresno on March 26 to help truck owners meet new rules for diesel trucks and learn about available government grants and funding….
2/24/2011 – ATA Supports Proposed Ban on Hand-Held Phone Use by Drivers
The American Trucking Associations announced its support of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed prohibition on the use of hand-held mobile phones, though it urged the agency to allow the use of hands free devices, citing agency research demonstrating the net safety benefits of such devices….
2/21/2011 – House Reintroduces Safe Efficient Transportation Act
At the urging of The Coalition for Transportation Productivity, the Safe Efficient Transportation Act has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio)as H.R. 763….
2/18/2011 – Safety Groups May Accept Hours of Service Proposal
A spokesman for the organizations that sued the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over hours of service rules said the agency’s proposed changes might be enough to get them to drop their suit. Henry Jasney, general counsel of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, would not say the groups won’t return to court, but said the changes in the proposed rule do correct some of the problems the court found in previous rulings against FMCSA….
2/18/2011 – Right to Repair Act Reintroduced in Massachusetts
The Right to Repair Act has been introduced in Massachusetts for the 2011-12 legislative session. The 2011 legislation is sponsored by Rep. Garrett Bradley (D-Hingham) and Sen. John Hart (D-South Boston) and has over 60 co-sponsors….
2/18/2011 – DeFazio Bill Would Mandate Pay for Excessive Detention Time
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., introduced a bill that would require the Department of Transportation to study industry detention practices and establish a maximum number of hours that drivers may be detained without being paid….
2/17/2011 – TIMTC, U.S. DOT to Sponsor Policy Issues Webinar Focusing On Truck Wireless Communication Technologies
Trucking industry stakeholders are invited to participate in a free webinar to discuss key policy and institutional challenges that could impact fleet adoption of new wireless communication technologies….
2/17/2011 – California Dump Truckers Sue CARB to Overturn Emission Rule
Calling the regulation “overreaching,” the California Dump Truck Owners Association has filed suit against the California Air Resources Board challenging the legality of board’s Truck and Bus Regulation….
2/17/2011 – ATA: Independent Review Casts Serious Doubt on HOS Proposal
An independent review of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service “Regulatory Impact Analysis” has found the Agency wildly overstated the proposal’s benefits….
2/16/2011 – FMCSA Extends HOS Comment Period to Cover Additional Documentation and Clerical Amendments
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published a notice advising it will extend the HOS comment period to March 4 from February 28. The additional time is to allow for review of addition documentation recently submitted to the public document by the Agency. …
2/15/2011 – Obama Administration Proposed Budget Aims to Streamline Transportation Spending
President Barack Obama’s proposed budget calls for a $556 billion, six-year transportation funding plan that would lump the Highway Trust Fund in with other funds into a single Transportation Trust Fund and streamline the number of transportation-related programs — but it’s not clear where the funding will come from….
2/15/2011 – Manitoba and Saskatchewan Sign Regulatory Memorandum of Understanding
The Provincial Governments of Manitoba and Saskatchewan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Harmonization of Regulations and Cooperation on Transportation Issues. …
2/9/2011 – Pegasus TransTech Enables Drivers to Provide Instant HOS Feedback
In response to requests from a number of its fleet customers, Pegasus TransTech is providing drivers with a free and easy method to provide feedback to the Department of Transportation concerning the proposed hours of service (HOS) regulation changes….
2/8/2011 – Budget Debate Begins with Proposal to Cut Transport Programs
House Budget Committee Chairman Hal Rogers kicked off this year’s budget process with a plan that includes a 17 percent cut for highway and housing programs. The Kentucky Republican said that the $74 billion in overall cuts his committee envisions constitute a responsible and prudent level of funding for the rest of the fiscal year….
2/7/2011 – TransCore Analysis of CSA Numbers Shows More Carriers Have Alerts than under SafeStat
In its analysis of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new CSA program data, TransCore found that there are significant state and regional differences in particular BASIC scores and that more carriers have alerts under CSA than they did under the previous SafeStat figures….
2/4/2011 – Mica Announces Transportation Bill Field Hearings, Public Forums
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) announced the locations for a series of national field hearings and public forums on pending major surface transportation legislation….
2/2/2011 – Questions Arise About Study Used to Justify 34-Hour Restart Change
Some of the scientific evidence used to justify changes in the 34-hour restart provision is being questioned by the trucking industry.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is relying in part on a two-part study conducted at Washington State University to say that the 34-hour restart should include two nights of rest….
2/1/2011 – New Proposal Would Greatly Expand EOBR Use
The new proposal on electronic onboard reporters vastly expands the rule the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration put out less than a year ago….
1/31/2011 – FMCSA Proposes EOBR Mandate for All Interstate Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing that all interstate trucks and buses be equipped with electronic onboard recorders to track driver hours….
1/31/2011 – Judge Puts Minnesota Fatigue Program to Sleep
A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the Minnesota State Patrol’s use of CVSA Level III inspections to determine fatigue violates truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights….
1/28/2011 – PHMSA Proposes Flammables Ban in Wetlines
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed a rule that would prohibit transport of flammable liquids in the pipes beneath cargo tanks….
1/28/2011 – Fatigue Study Provides Basis for 34-Hour Restart Proposal
The 34-hour restart gives daytime drivers a chance to catch up on their rest, but it does not work as well for night drivers. In fact, it may even be detrimental to driver performance.
That’s the conclusion of a study the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is using to justify its proposal that the restart include two periods of rest between midnight and 6 a.m….
1/28/2011 – Canada Rolls Out New Road Safety Strategy
Canada’s Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety have approved a new five-year Road Safety Strategy under which Canada will continue to strive to have the safest roads in the world….
1/28/2011 – FMCSA to Hold Public Listening Session on Hours-of-Service Proposed Rule
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced today that it will hold a public listening session on its hours-of-service proposal Feb. 17 in Arlington, Va….
1/25/2011 – ATRI Suggests Alternative Approach to Safety Compliance
A trucking industry research group has put together a concept for how carriers might improve their safety performance without following traditional compliance requirements….