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Commercial Zones at International Border With Mexico

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking

Commercial Zones at International Border With Mexico

T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
25 May 2016

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 101 (Wednesday, May 25, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 33144-33147]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-12184]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No FMCSA-2015-0372]

49 CFR Part 372

RIN 2126-AB86

Commercial Zones at International Border With Mexico

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: FMCSA finalizes the interim final rule (IFR) published on 
February 24, 2016, in the Federal Register expanding the commercial 
zone for the City of El Paso, TX. The commercial zone now includes the 
new Tornillo-Guadalupe international bridge and port of entry on the 
border with Mexico. The Agency sought, but did not receive, public 
comments regarding what should constitute the eastern boundary of 
FMCSA's commercial zone for the City of El Paso, TX. Therefore, FMCSA 
is adopting the commercial zone as defined in the February 24, 2016, 

DATES: Effective May 25, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bryan Price, Chief, North American 
Borders Division, FMCSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 
20590-0001. Telephone (202) 680-4831; email bryan.price@dot.gov. If you 
have questions on viewing or submitting

[[Page 33145]]

material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-


Legal Basis

    The statutes authorizing FMCSA to regulate certain economic 
activities of motor carriers provide for several exemptions. One of 
them, the ``commercial zone'' exemption, now set out in 49 U.S.C. 
13506(b)(1), provides that, except to the extent FMCSA finds it 
necessary to exercise jurisdiction to carry out the transportation 
policy of 49 U.S.C. 13101, FMCSA has no jurisdiction under 49 U.S.C. 
subtitle IV, part B \1\ over transportation provided entirely in a 
municipality, in contiguous municipalities, or in a zone that is 
adjacent to, and commercially a part of, the municipality or 
municipalities, except when the transportation is under common control, 
management, or arrangement for a continuous carriage or shipment to or 
from a place outside the municipality, municipalities, or zone. The 
statute does not specify the geographic limits of a commercial zone. 
From the outset commercial zone limits have usually been established by 
agency rulemaking under authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 13301(a). 
Authority to administer the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 13506 has been 
delegated by the Secretary to the Administrator of FMCSA. 49 CFR 

    \1\ This commercial zone exemption thus applies only to 
commercial regulations applicable to motor carriers, such as the 
requirements for operating authority set out in 49 U.S.C. 13901-
13904 and 49 CFR parts 365 and 390. Mexico-domiciled motor carriers 
operating in commercial zones at the international border are 
required to obtain certificates of registration under 49 U.S.C. 
13902(c) and 49 CFR part 368. At one time, motor carrier operations 
in commercial zones were exempt from most safety regulations, but 
since 1989, such operations have been subject to all of the Federal 
Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, with the exception of a small, 
grandfathered population of medically unqualified drivers who were 
operating in commercial zones between November 1987 and November 
1988. 49 U.S.C. 31136(f), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; 
General, 53 FR 18042, 18044-49 (May 19, 1988) and Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Regulations; General; Exempt Intracity Zone; Foreign 
Motor Carriers, 54 FR 12200 (Mar. 24, 1989).

    The interim final rule establishing the expanded commercial zone 
for the City of El Paso was made effective on February 24, 2016, the 
date of publication in the Federal Register. This final rule confirms 
the exemption granted by the IFR and is effective upon publication. 5 
U.S.C. 553(d)(1).


    A history of the expansion of the City of El Paso's commercial zone 
may be found in the February 24, 2016, IFR (81 FR 9117). In that IFR, 
FMCSA established a commercial zone for the City of El Paso that 
includes the new border crossing, which, unlike the old border 
crossing, is being used by motor carriers of both property and 
passengers. The expanded commercial zone includes the intersection of 
Interstate 10 with O.T. Smith Road and Texas Farm-to-Market Road 3380 
so that motor carriers that have authority from FMCSA to operate only 
within the El Paso commercial zone may use the new international bridge 
and will be able to drive to and from the intersection of Interstate 10 
and O.T. Smith Road/Farm-to-Market Road 3380.
    The specific description of the commercial zone for the City of El 
Paso set out in 49 CFR 372.247, published at 81 FR 9117, includes all 
of the area previously within the commercial zone under the general 
rule in 49 CFR 372.241. It added a provision expanding the zone to 
include all unincorporated areas within 15 miles of the corporate 
boundaries of the City of San Elizario, TX. The February 24, 2016, 
IFR's expansion of the commercial zone \2\ added 84 square miles to the 
previous El Paso commercial zone.

    \2\ A map depicting the expanded commercial zone under the EA's 
alternative 2 is included in the final EA's Appendix A as Figure 2.

    FMCSA also sought public comment on whether the boundary of the 
expanded commercial zone should instead be the eastern boundary \3\ of 
the County of El Paso. No public comments, however, were received 
concerning either of the proposed commercial zones. FMCSA is therefore 
adopting as final the commercial zone set out in 49 CFR 372.247.

    \3\ A map depicting the expanded commercial zone under the EA's 
alternative 3 is included in the final EA as Figure 3.

Rulemaking Analyses

Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    FMCSA has determined that this action is not a significant 
regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866, as 
supplemented by Executive Order 13563 (76 FR 3821, Jan. 18, 2011), or 
within the meaning of the DOT regulatory policies and procedures (44 FR 
1103, Feb. 26, 1979). Thus, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
did not review this document. The final rule has no costs, as it 
exempts motor carriers from obtaining FMCSA operating authority when 
they operate in interstate or foreign commerce wholly within the El 
Paso, Texas commercial zone as defined by 49 CFR 372.247; therefore, a 
full regulatory evaluation is unnecessary.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601-612), 
FMCSA is not required to complete a regulatory flexibility analysis, 
because this action is not subject to notice and comment under section 
553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act.\4\

    \4\ 5 U.S.C 553(b).

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The final rule does not impose an unfunded Federal mandate, as 
defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1532, et 
seq.), that will result in the expenditure by State, local and tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $155 
million (which is the value of $100 million in 1995 dollars after 
adjusting for inflation to 2014 dollars) or more in any 1 year.

E.O. 13132 (Federalism)

    A rule has implications for Federalism under section 1(a) of 
Executive Order 13132 if it has ``substantial direct effects on the 
States, on the relationship between national government and the States, 
or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among various 
levels of government.'' FMCSA has determined that this rule will not 
have substantial direct effects on States, nor will it limit the 
policymaking discretion of States. Nothing in this document preempts or 
modifies any provision of State law or regulation, imposes substantial 
direct unreimbursed compliance costs on any State, or diminishes the 
power of any State to enforce its own laws. Accordingly, the final rule 
does not have Federalism implications warranting the application of 
E.O. 13132.

E.O. 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)

    The regulations implementing E.O. 12372 regarding intergovernmental 
consultation on Federal programs and activities do not apply to this 
final rule.

Indian Tribal Governments

    This final rule does not have tribal implications under Executive 
Order 13175 titled, ``Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments,'' because they would not have a substantial direct effect 
on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal 
Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

[[Page 33146]]

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et 
seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they 
conduct, sponsor, or require through regulations. FMCSA determined that 
no new information collection requirements are associated with this 
final rule, nor are there any revisions to existing, approved 
collections of information.

National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Air Act

    The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.) requires Federal agencies to integrate environmental 
values into their decision-making processes by requiring Federal 
agencies to consider the potential environmental impacts of their 
proposed actions. In accordance with FMCSA's Order 5610.1, NEPA 
Implementing Procedures and Policy for Considering Environmental 
Impacts, and other applicable requirements, FMCSA prepared an 
Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze the potential impacts of the 
IFR for the expansion of the City of El Paso, TX, commercial zone. 
FMCSA published a notice of availability of the draft EA, giving the 
public an opportunity to comment on it, on January 15, 2016 (81 FR 
2291). FMCSA also published the IFR, giving the public an opportunity 
to comment on it, the final EA, and the Finding of No Significant 
Impact (FONSI), on February 24, 2016 (81 FR 9117). The final EA and 
FONSI are available for inspection or copying in the Regulations.gov 
Web site at http://www.regulations.gov. No comments were received by 
the end of both comment periods. Because the implementation of this 
action will only expand an existing commercial zone, FMCSA found that 
endangered species, cultural resources protected under the National 
Historic Preservation Act, wetlands, and resources protected under 
Section 4(f) of the DOT Act of 1966, 49 U.S.C. 303, as amended by 
Public Law 109-59 (Aug. 10, 2005), are not impacted. The impact areas 
that may be affected and were evaluated in this EA included air 
quality, noise, socioeconomics, environmental justice, public health 
and safety, and hazardous materials. FMCSA anticipates that making 
final the expanded El Paso commercial zone will have certain impacts 
related principally to air emissions and land use from economic growth; 
however, neither of these factors individually or collectively will 
cause significant impacts. In addition, the economic impact will have 
beneficial impacts to the quality of life in terms of job creation.
    FMCSA also analyzed this final rule under the Clean Air Act, as 
amended (CAA), section 176(c) (42 U.S.C. 7506(c)), and implementing 
regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency. None of 
the alternatives considered in the final EA is located in a 
nonattainment or maintenance area for any of the criteria pollutants; 
therefore, FMCSA has determined that it is not required to perform a 
CAA general conformity analysis.

E.O. 12898 (Environmental Justice)

    E.O. 12898 (59 FR 7629, Feb. 16, 1994), Federal Actions to Address 
Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income 
Populations, establishes Federal executive policy on environmental 
justice. The E.O.'s main provision directs Federal agencies to make 
environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and 
addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human 
health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and 
activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the 
United States. FMCSA evaluated the environmental effects of this final 
rule in accordance with E.O. 12898 and determined that there are no 
environmental justice issues associated with its provisions, nor any 
collective environmental impact resulting from its promulgation. None 
of the alternatives analyzed in the EA will result in high and adverse 
environmental impacts on minority or low-income populations.

E.O. 13211 (Energy Effects)

    FMCSA has analyzed this final rule under Executive Order 13211, 
titled ``Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect 
Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.'' The Agency has determined that 
the rule(s) are not a ``significant energy action'' under that 
Executive Order because it is not a ``significant regulatory action'' 
under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant 
adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. 
Therefore, no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

E.O. 13045 (Protection of Children)

    Executive Order 13045 titled, ``Protection of Children from 
Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks'' (62 FR 19885, Apr. 23, 
1997), requires agencies issuing ``economically significant'' rules, if 
the regulation also concerns an environmental health or safety risk 
that an agency has reason to believe may disproportionately affect 
children, to include an evaluation of the regulation's environmental 
health and safety effects on children. As discussed previously, the 
final rule is not economically significant. Therefore, no analysis of 
the impacts on children is required.

E.O. 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This action meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of E.O. 12988 titled, ``Civil Justice Reform,'' to minimize litigation, 
eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

E.O. 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    This final rule will not effect a taking of private property or 
otherwise have taking implications under E.O. 12630 titled, 
``Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected 
Property Rights.''

National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (15 U.S.C. 272 
note) requires Federal agencies proposing to adopt technical standards 
to consider whether voluntary consensus standards are available. If the 
Agency chooses to adopt its own standards in place of existing 
voluntary consensus standards, it must explain its decision in a 
separate statement to OMB. Because FMCSA does not intend to adopt 
technical standards, there is no need to submit a separate statement to 
OMB on this matter.

Privacy Impact Assessment

    Section 522(a)(5) of the Transportation, Treasury, Independent 
Agencies, and General Government Appropriations Act, 2005 (Pub. L. 108-
447, Division H, Title I, 118 Stat. 2809 at 3268, Dec. 8, 2004) 
requires DOT and certain other Federal agencies to conduct a privacy 
impact assessment of each rule that will affect the privacy of 
individuals. Because this final rule will not affect the privacy of 
individuals, FMCSA did not conduct a separate privacy impact 

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 372

    Agricultural commodities, Buses, Cooperatives, Freight forwarders, 
Motor carriers, Moving of household goods, Seafood.

    For reasons set forth in the preamble, FMCSA adopts the interim 
rule published February 24, 2016 (81 FR 9117), as final without change.

[[Page 33147]]

    Issued pursuant to authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.87 on: May 
17, 2016
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-12184 Filed 5-24-16; 8:45 am]

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