Impact of Mexican Trucks in US to be Studied
DOT will issue environmental impact statement in response to appelate court decision
WASHINGTON, DC - The US Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that it will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzing the impact of Mexican trucks on US highways.
The move is in response to a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Public Citizen v. Department of Transportation (DOT).
The court's decision "prevented FMCSA from implementing safety rules governing the entry of Mexico-domiciled carriers into the United States until a more thorough environmental analysis had been completed, and effectively blocked the Bush Administration from implementing the truck and bus provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)," said a DOT spokesman during a recent press conference.
Under the provisions of NAFTA, Mexican-domiciled truck and bus companies seeking to engage in cross-border cargo and passenger services from Mexico to the US must be granted access to US highways, once it has been determined that such vehicles meet mandatory safety standards.
Mexican truck and bus access to the US had initially been delayed due to concerns about the safety standards of Mexican vehicles on US highways.
FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg said that "FMCSA is ready now, and will be ready whenever the Mexican border is opened, to ensure the safety of border operations."
The agency, she added, "will begin work to comply with the court's ruling but not to the exclusion of other legal avenues, including the possibility of asking the US Supreme Court to review the lower court's decision."
FMCSA is responsible for ensuring the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles within the US. As part of that mandate, the agency in May, 2001 issued regulations to ensure the safe operation of Mexico-based trucks and buses in the US.
The $1.8 million contract to prepare the EIS was awarded to ICF Consulting of Fairfax, VA. The FMCSA estimates that the EIS will be completed in 12 to 18 months.
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