Interim final rule; request for comments.
The FMCSA revises its regulations and form, OP-1(MX), governing applications by Mexico-domiciled carriers who want to operate within the United States beyond the municipalities adjacent to Mexico in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California and beyond the commercial zones of such municipalities (``border zones''). This interim rule includes requirements that were not proposed in the NPRM, but which are necessary to comply with the Fiscal Year 2002 DOT Appropriations Act enacted into law in December 2001. This action is taken in anticipation of a presidential order lifting the current statutory moratorium on authorizing such operations. The form requires additional information about the applicant's business and operating practices to help the FMCSA to determine if the applicant will be able to meet the safety standards established for operating in interstate commerce in the United States. Carriers that previously submitted an application to operate beyond the border zones must submit the updated form. Any Mexico-domiciled motor carrier (of property) that wants to operate within the United States solely within the border zones must apply under separate FMCSA regulations that we are issuing elsewhere in today's Federal Register. The revisions in this action are part of FMCSA's efforts to ensure the safe operation of Mexico-domiciled motor carriers in the United States and implement the 2002 DOT Appropriations Act. This action will ensure that FMCSA receives adequate information to assess an applicant's ability to comply with U.S. safety standards. It requires that all Mexico-domiciled carriers subject to this rule undergo a safety audit before receiving provisional authority to operate in the United States. Therefore, the FMCSA is publishing this action as an interim final rule and is delaying the effective date in order to consider additional public comments regarding pre- authorization safety audits before grants of provisional authority. These changes will result in the FMCSA being able to better maintain an accurate census of Mexico-domiciled carriers operating beyond the border zones.