ICC PROPOSES TO WIDEN US-MEXICO BORDER ZONE

ICC PROPOSES TO WIDEN US-MEXICO BORDER ZONE

The Interstate Commerce Commission Tuesday proposed to expand the zone around El Paso, Texas, in which it does not regulate trucking.

The new so-called commercial zone would include three counties in Texas and New Mexico along the U.S.-Mexico border.Local proponents of the measure estimate that it would enable the U.S. trucking industry to double its revenue in the region to $400 million a year, the ICC said.

The proposed expansion would permit U.S. carriers to provide broader services exempt from regulation. It also would permit Mexican carriers, with ICC registrations, to transport commodities 60 miles beyond the current El Paso commercial zone.

The proposal embraces Luna and Dona Ana counties in New Mexico and El Paso County, Texas.

Proponents of the proposal include the governments of all three counties and a broad coalition of governmental, economic and civic interests in the area.

They claim that dividing the area into separate zones ignores the commercial realities and the economic, demographic, geographic and, to an extent, governmental factors that bind the three counties into a single commercial unit.

ICC commissioner Edward Emmett said the El Paso commercial zone was based on data from the 1970 federal census. He also said he expects the commission will make an effort to redefine the limits of commercial zones in other parts of the country.

The commission has asked the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Transportation and the Department of State to file comments in the case

because of the new rule's potential impact on ongoing North American free trade agreement land transportation negotiations. Comments in the case are due April 9.