There has been some push-back by the Senate regarding the Mexico Pilot Program, proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") . In a letter to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the administration's pilot program will endanger U.S. companies' competitiveness.
Senator Rockefeller, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, also said he's not convinced that the plan will ensure safety, and he objects to having the FMCSA sponsor electronic onboard recorders for Mexican carriers.
FMCSA recently spelled out the details for three-year pilot program in which Mexican and U.S. carriers could offer long-distance service into each country. The pilot sets up a vetting and enforcement program to ensure the safety of Mexican trucks, with the goal of evaluating their safety performance, based on inspections at the roadside, ports of entry and weigh stations, and on traffic enforcement. Hazardous materials and passenger carriers will not be included in the program.
The program is the result of an agreement between President Obama and President Calderon of Mexico to resolve the long-standing dispute over cross-border trucking. Once the program is in place, Mexico will start to suspend the tariffs it levied when the Congress killed an earlier version of the pilot.