In a letter sent to Congress yesterday, the 10 members of the NAFTA Coalition for Safe Trucks are calling for full access to the U.S. for Mexican trucks, with greater safety enforcement for those vehicles, because of the growing value of trade between the two countries.

The group, which includes the ATA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Industrial Transportation League, argues that the recent House of Representatives effort to block full implementation of NAFTA is unwarranted.

“From 1993 to 2000, the value of U.S.-Mexico trade increased from $81 billion to $250 billion, and over 80% of the value of that trade has been shipped on trucks as evidenced by the nearly five-million truck border crossings that occurred last year,” the letter stated.

“Today, trucking carriers from Canada are allowed to enter the U.S. under rules similar to those proposed for carriers from Mexico. The difference is that carriers from Mexico will be required to provide far more information on their ability to meet U.S. safety standards than are carriers from Mexico,” the letter added.

The group is urging Congress to fully fund the Department of Transportation’s 2002 fiscal requests, so DOT can in turn make sure trade with Mexico via truck will be made safe and reliable.