The six most heavily used crossings account for three-quarters of the western border truck movements. These are Blaine-Pacific on I-5 (1,820 crossings per day), Pembina-Emerson on I-29 (669 crossings per day), Sweetgrass-Coutts on I-15 (460 crossings per day), Sumas-Huntington on U.S. 9 (359 crossings per day), Portal-North Portal on U.S. 52 (301 crossings per day), and Eastport-Kingsgate on U.S. 95 (194 crossings per day). About 1 of 10 trucks moving southbound across the western border are empty. One-third of the northbound trucks are empty.
Many western Canadian carriers have established operating arms in the United States. In 1994, two of every three northbound trucks entering Canada across the western border were Canadian- registered. One-third were registered in the United States. A number of Canadian carriers have recently established associations with Mexican carriers. When employing U.S. drivers and equipment, the U.S. base allows them to operate both within the United States as well as between the United States and Canada, and in time, into Mexico.
Implications of Federal TS&W Policy Options
What would happen to western border trucking if there was no change in the current limits and scope of application of Federal TS&W provisions? Based on recent experience:
More specialized western border vehicles would be introduced. These include increasing use of six-, seven-, and eight-axle tractor-semitrailer units and seven- and eight-axle truck- trailer units.
A variety of (often undesirable) long-drawbar A-trains and truck-trailer combinations would remain and probably see increased use.
U.S.-Canada crossborder traffic probably will grow at a rapid rate.
Split tandems and wide-base tires will be increasingly employed.
What would happen to western border trucking if certain Federal TS&W regulation was devolved to the States?
Federal Length Limits (minimum): Since these limits are already equaled or exceeded in the five western border States, no effect is expected.
Federal Axle Weight Limits: The States could elect to increase single- and tandem-axle weight limits on the Interstates within their borders. None of these States have over the years elected to increase axle weights on non-IS highways under their respective authorities. Differences with Canadian tandem axle limits could effect some pressure.
The 80,000-Pound GVW Cap: In the five western border States, the only highways on which the Federal 80,000-pound GVW cap applies are in Minnesota. In the other four States, it is the GVW