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Cablegate: Brazil: Usdot/Fhwa/Aashto and Ministry Of

VZCZCXRO0552
PP RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #0289/01 0471831
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161831Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8138
INFO RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 3883
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 9239
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 6252
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 5167
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4590
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 6092
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 6751
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 5944
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 3359
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4108
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3604
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 2133
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO 1245
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000289

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/TRA/OTP: SMILLER, DHAYWOOD
DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR FHWA/HNEVARES, MAVERY
USDOC FOR 4332/ITA/MAC/WH/OLAC/MCAMPOS
USDOC FOR 3134/ITA/USCS/OIO/WH/RD/DRAMBO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELTN ECON BEXP OTRA BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: USDOT/FHWA/AASHTO AND MINISTRY OF
TRANSPORTATION/ABDER'S CONTINUED "WIM-WIM" DIALOGUE AND INFO
EXCHANGE


1. (U) Summary: On February 13, EconOff attended a digital
videoconference (DVC) between representatives of the U.S. Department
of Transportation (DOT)'s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
(AASHTO), and their Brazilian counterparts, the Ministry of
Transportation and the Associacao Brasileira dos Departamentos
Estaduais de Estradas de Rodagem (ABDER) on Weigh-in-Motion (WIM)
technology. The third DVC undertaken by this group to date, the WIM
discussion built upon an already cordial, evolving relationship
between the various entities. The ongoing dialogue is being
coordinated by FHWA with assistance from a Michigan Tech-trained,
Michigan Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) employee. A
Brazilian citizen, the LTAP employee currently is based in the
Brazilian state of Goias for the next several months. While not
ostensibly focused on U.S. industry business opportunities,
continued interactions could have commercial possibilities,
especially with input and assistance from the U.S. Department of
Commerce/Foreign Commercial Service. The next DVC, which FHWA and
the Brazilian Ministry of Transportation and ABDER plan to hold
sometime in March, will be on public-private partnerships--another
hot topic of late on the U.S.-Brazil landscape. End summary.

2. (U) The first and second DVCs held between FHWA/AASHTO and
ABDER, which took place in August and November, 2006, focused on
U.S. highway structure and federal/state individual
responsibilities. After the second DVC, one of the main GOB
interlocutors told FHWA that a legislative bill pending in the
Brazilian Congress since 1995 proposes a restructuring of the
highway system. The bill includes an article which would allow the
transfer of federal highway sections that did not fulfill certain
criteria to the individual states. However, he said that for
political reasons the bill had not been fully debated and that the
Brazilians are in the process of updating it. He noted, "the ideas
about federal/state institutional responsibilities of the American
Highway System are also being considered as a model for the new
legislative bill that is being developed."

3. (U) During the February 13 DVC, the U.S. side did the lion's
share of the presentation. The content was mostly technical in
nature, dealing with the specifics of how trucks are weighed on the
highways, particularly via the method of "Weigh-in-Motion," or WIM.
As the name implies, WIM involves weighing trucks while they are in
motion, by having them roll over scales embedded in the highway or
off-highway asphalt; calculating the vehicle weight based upon those
scale readings; and simultaneously taking photos of the trucks'
license plates in order to track the vehicles and issue any fines
for overweight vehicles. Various U.S. state representatives
discussed different styles of WIM systems, including their levels of
accuracy. The U.S. representatives then discussed an "International
Scan," pursuant to which 10 representatives from various U.S. states
went to Europe to see how several countries handle weighing
transport vehicles. An executive summary from that visit will be
made available to the Brazilians. U.S. state representatives also
candidly cautioned their Brazilian counterparts about the need for
maintenance schedules and clauses to be worked into the procurement
process so as to avoid any equipment malfunctions and lack of
support later on. An example presented was a system in the U.S. in
the 80s, for which the South African manufacturer did not later
provide sufficient technical support to maintain the equipment.
This led to the eventual loss of utility of the equipment and the
subsequent procurement and adoption of another system. While at no
time did any of the presenters advocate for any particular system,
it became clear that the accuracy levels of some were superior to
others, often with a corresponding increase in cost.

4. (U) The Brazilian presenter, an engineer who used a PowerPoint
with embedded flow charts and photos, demonstrated the truck
weighing system that is currently in place in Brazil, which includes
33 plate systems and 40 mobile systems. Most of the equipment used
in Brazil is European-specifically, German-in origin. The Brazilian

BRASILIA 00000289 002 OF 002


side mentioned neither costs nor maintenance, although post feels
that those are certainly considerations for Brazil's ability to
implement WIM on a grand scale.

5. (U) The Brazilians had a few additional questions, primarily
about how the transport of liquid materials is handled and regulated
in the U.S. (hazardous materials are handled separately, per the
explanation) and how the states fund their WIM systems (via trust
fund from gas taxes, was the answer). In addition, Brazilian
attendees were interested in whether states have the authority to
oversee the issuance of, and compliance with, a variety of transport
permits. The U.S. presenters confirmed that U.S. states do not need
permission from the Federal Government to oversee these issues, and
fines and penalties for overweight or otherwise noncompliant
vehicles are issued by the state and/or local systems.

6. (U) U.S. interlocutors noted that the most sophisticated system
is not always the best system to meet a customer's individual needs,
and again said that most states include maintenance as part of the
procurement process, having learned from prior experience that to
not do so would be detrimental. One such interlocutor stressed the
need to test the equipment daily, "not just weekly or monthly," to
ensure accuracy and to make sure that maintenance was regularly
performed.

7. (U) Information was also briefly shared on seaport containers
and weighing those containers upon arrival in port and before ground
transportation, using the Florida DOT as a reference point and with
the stated goal of minimizing the subsequent impact on roads of
oversize loads. Brazilian participants indicated that Brazil is
attempting to do the same function in conjunction with the federal
customs police. Finally, the U.S. participants questioned how the
rest of Latin America deals with WIM, and Brazil cited Chile as a
"reference point" (standard) for the region.

8. (U) Next steps in the FHWA/AASHTO and Ministry of
Transportation/ABDER partnership will be another DVC, tentatively
planned for March, on public-private partnerships. Brazil will take
the lead on this DVC and do most of the presenting, and the U.S.
representatives indicated that they are looking forward to learning
from Brazil's experience in this area.

9. (U) This cable was cleared by the DOT/FHWA prior to
transmission.

SOBEL

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