Internal report helped Mexico to gets green light: DOT ‘opening door’ to cross-border trucking

Less than a month after an internal audit concluded a pilot program lacked enough participants to be statistically conclusive, the Dept. of Transportation said Friday that Mexican motor carriers will soon be able to apply for authority to conduct long-haul, cross-border trucking services in the United States.

Fully opening the border to approved carriers is “a significant milestone” in the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to the DOT statement. The policy change ends a 20-year political dispute over the NAFTA trucking provision, and is expected to result in the permanent termination of more than $2 billion in annual retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

And the certainty over that economic impact outweighed the statistical uncertainty from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s three-year test program to evaluate the safety impact of granting long-haul authority to Mexico-based trucking companies.

While the recently published audit by the DOT Office of Inspector General did not make any recommendations, it did determine that FMCSA “established sufficient monitoring and enforcement activities” to meet a lengthy list of requirements mandated by Congress. The audit also confirmed FMCSA’s analysis: Pilot program participant carriers, as well as Mexico-domiciled and Mexican-owned carriers with existing authority to operate in the U.S., performed no worse than U.S. and Canadian motor carriers.

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