Third Mexican carrier gets full U.S. clearance

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Transportes Padilla, based in Tijuana, is the third Mexican trucking company to receive authority to make long-haul deliveries in the United States as part of the Bush administration’s cross-border trucking program. The company intends to operate three vehicles.

Last week, IBC Inc., based in San Diego, and Transportes Rafa, based only two hours away in Mexicali, Baja California, became the second pair of companies approved for the cross-border project, FMCSA announced. A list of U.S. and Mexico trucking companies that have received authority to participate in the project is available here.

“We are enforcing tough safety standards at every stage of this demonstration as we tap into this unique opportunity to compete in new markets and increase border trade efficiency,” says John Hill, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency overseeing the project launched Sept. 6. “There is tremendous potential to reduce costs for American consumers and businesses while maintaining safety on American roads.”

While critics of the program — including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Teamsters union and a number of members of Congress — have raised safety concerns about Mexican trucks, FMCSA argues that thousands of Mexican trucks already operate every day in U.S. cities such as San Diego and El Paso, Texas. In 2006 alone, Mexican trucks crossed into the United States 4 million times, while no U.S. trucks were allowed to enter Mexico.

For years, however, those Mexican trucks have been limited to the 25-mile border commercial zone within the United States. The program launched Sept. 6 allows long-haul operations for up to 100 Mexican carriers throughout the United States, and up to 100 U.S. carriers throughout Mexico.