Stagecoach Cartage and Distribution, an El Paso-based trucking company, became the first U.S. trucker to haul a shipment across the U.S.-Mexico border. The truck went through the Nogales, Ariz. commercial border crossing
at approximately 9 a.m. Friday on its way to Obregon, near Hermosillo, to deliver a load of plastic resin.
"Today is historic. We're giving U.S. trucking companies the opportunity to compete in a new market that they have never before been allowed to penetrate," said John H. Hill, FMCSA Administrator. "These opportunities will help reduce costs for American consumers and businesses while increasing trade efficiency at the border and maintaining safety on America's highways."
Thousands of Mexican commercial trucks operate every day in U.S. cities like San Diego and El Paso and last year made more than 4 million crossings into border commercial zones, which extend approximately 20-25 miles into the United States. U.S. commercial trucks, however, have never had the authority to operate in Mexico.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the start of a cross-border trucking demonstration project that would expand current border operations to allow up to 100 U.S. trucking companies to operate in Mexico and up to 100 Mexican trucking companies to operate beyond commercial zones in the U.S.
Hill said every company, vehicle and driver participating in the program must pass a rigorous safety audit and inspection before being allowed to participate in the demonstration project.
Transportes Olympic, a Mexican trucking company based in Nuevo Leon, last week became the first Mexican carrier to operate beyond U.S. commercial border zones, as part of the demonstration project.
Also last week, the U.S. Senate voted to block funding for the test program to allow Mexican long-haul trucks to operate in the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement. That was followed a day later by a Senate vote on the Transportation Funding bill that contained the Byron Dorgan amendment to stop funding for the Mexican truck program.
Opponents of the border program include the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the Teamsters union.