All the wrangling over the cross-border trucking program that was officially ended recently seems like nothing more than politics to me. And that’s a shame.
While President Obama’s signature on a 2009 omnibus appropriations bill stopped the funding for the program, effectively killing it, he has pledged to work with Congress and the Mexican government to come up with a new program.
Here’s a simple suggestion to everyone involved: Let’s not let politics get in the way.
Several groups, notably the Teamsters, opposed the project, claiming that Mexico does not have the same high standards for truck safety as the U.S. True.
Others, including some Senate Democrats, see the program as taking away American jobs. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, when asked if Congress would approve of a program created by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, one Democratic aide said, “I don’t see it happening, it poses a threat to American jobs and security.”
Well, so does angering Mexico. According to that same article, U.S. exports to Mexico totaled $9.8 billion in January. We can’t afford to lose that market due to high tariffs. That will cost Americans jobs.
Once we navigate through all the political posturing, the solution is quite clear, and quite simple.
If you or I travel to a foreign country, we must abide by the rules and regulations that society enforces. Just because one activity is legal in the U.S. does not make it O.K. to do the same in, say, Italy. The same applies to trucking across borders. If Mexican fleets want to do business in the U.S., they simple have to abide by U.S. law, including any applicable safety and hours-of-service laws while operating in this country. The same applies to U.S. fleets operating in Mexico.
It’s a simple solution, just one clouded by politics.