The cross-border trucking program, targeted for extinction by the Obama administration, has been officially cut as the President signed the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, which contains a provision preventing the Dept. of Transportation from funding the program.
The Bush administration championed the cross-border program, which went into effect in September 2007. It allowed up to 100 Mexican carriers to operate beyond the U.S. border commercial zones and up to 100 U.S. carriers to operate throughout Mexico. However, opponents have contended that the Mexican carriers were unsafe.
“Safety concerns continue to drive my opposition to this program,” said Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Mexican law does not require many fundamental elements of highway safety that are required for U.S. drivers, including comparable hours-of-service restrictions, drug testing, and licensing requirements.
“I am pleased that Congress has reclaimed its ability to have some bearing on the obligations contained in the surface transportation provisions of NAFTA and has voted for this step forward for highway safety,” Oberstar continued.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a lawsuit against the program the day after it was implemented. “The will of the Congress and the American people have now been fulfilled,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vp. “We’re thankful for the Congress for putting the safety and security ahead of the economic interests of a few multinational corporations.”
However, President Obama said that his administration and Congress will work with the Mexican government to develop "a new trucking project that will meet the legitimate concerns" raised, according to the Associated Press.