GAO: Border plan needed

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The Department of Transportation should develop and implement a coordinated operational plan for truck safety at the Mexican border, the General Accounting Office said last month. In a report to Congress, GAO noted that although DOT agreed with the recommendation, the two entities disagree on the progress DOT has made toward this goal.

GAO recommended that DOT direct the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to implement a plan that:

  • Establishes inspection goals;
  • Takes steps toward improving the quality of data so FMCSA can evaluate whether safety goals are being met for both drayage and long-haul carriers;
  • Reaches agreements with states and other federal agencies on where inspection facilities will be built, how they will be staffed and who will operate them; and
  • Sets a specific timetable for when these actions will be completed.

In response, DOT officials told GAO that they were well advanced in efforts to fulfill not only GAO’s recommendation by the requirements in the DOT appropriations bill governing access to the United States by Mexican carriers. (See “Border opening months away,” CCJ, January 2002.) GAO, however, said it disagreed with DOT’s assessment. “Even prior to the act, DOT had not reached agreements with the states on how to allocate their inspectors or with other federal agencies on the space needed to conduct additional truck inspections,” GAO said.

The GAO report is available in PDF format at www.gao.gov/new.items/d02238.pdf.