In accordance with a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), President Bush will allow Mexican ownership of bus companies operating within the United States.
Citizens of Mexico can apply for authorization to own bus companies providing point to point transportation service. NAFTA was signed in 1995, but the investment provision that would allow Mexican bus and truck company ownership was delayed due to a moratorium imposed by the Bus Regulatory Reform Act of 1982 and the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995.
With the passing of the provision, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will begin to process applications from Mexican carriers for ownership and operating rights within the United States. Implementation for access across the Border States will occur by the end of the year.
“Liberalizing investment opportunities in both the United States and Mexico will help promote economic growth and create new jobs in transportation services,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
In response to the NAFTA provisions, American Bus Association (ABA) President Peter Pantuso along with other ABA members visited Mexico to better understand the way in which the Mexican transportation system works as it relates to intercity coaches. The ABA delegation also spent time along the border in Brownsville, Texas, to help better understand how the border works now, Pantuso said.
“The major issue for the intercity bus industry is assuring that there is compliance with FMCSA requirements as they relate to the vehicle and to the drivers,” said Pantuso. “We want to be assured that, whatever changes take place along the border, safety of the passenger and of the equipment and other people on the road are not compromised with the border opening.”