The U.S. Senate is close to passing new spending bill that would effectively end the controversial cross-border trucking program that allows a select number of Mexican carriers into the country, according to the Washington Post. The bill passed the House of Representatives last week and is currently being debated in the Senate.

According to the U.S. DOT, since 1982 trucks from Mexico have been able to drive in a 25-mile commercial zone along the U.S. border, but cargo destined beyond that point must be off-loaded and transferred. The cross-border program, which went into effect in September 2007, allows 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, as of August 2008, only 27 Mexican carriers with 107 trucks were operating in the U.S. and 10 U.S. carriers with 55 trucks were operating in Mexico. Language in the new appropriations bill, introduced by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, (D-ND) would cut off all funding for the program.

Read entire article ...

The U.S. Senate is close to passing new spending bill that would effectively end the controversial cross-border trucking program that allows a select number of Mexican carriers into the country, according to the Washington Post. The bill passed the House of Representatives last week and is currently being debated in the Senate.

According to the U.S. DOT, since 1982 trucks from Mexico have been able to drive in a 25-mile commercial zone along the U.S. border, but cargo destined beyond that point must be off-loaded and transferred. The cross-border program, which went into effect in September 2007, allows 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, as of August 2008, only 27 Mexican carriers with 107 trucks were operating in the U.S. and 10 U.S. carriers with 55 trucks were operating in Mexico. Language in the new appropriations bill, introduced by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, (D-ND) would cut off all funding for the program.

“None of the funds appropriated may be used, directly or indirectly, to establish, implement, continue, promote, or in any way permit a cross-border motor carrier demonstration program to allow Mexican-domiciled motor carriers to operate beyond the commercial zones along the international border between the United States and Mexico,” the bill states.

According to the Post, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has opposed the program for the past decade, while President Obama and Vice President Biden both voted to cut it in 2007 when they were senators.

The cross-border program has been supported by a number of agricultural and business organizations, including the American Trucking Assns., Caterpillar and the National Association of Manufacturers, which were among 69 organizations to sign a statement last March that claimed blocking the program would cause Mexico to retaliate against U.S. products entering Mexico.

However, the program has also met fierce opposition from a number of groups, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who feel Mexican trucks have a high probability of being unsafe and make U.S. highways more dangerous.

OOIDA filed a lawsuit against the program the day after it was implemented. “DOT has consistently bent over backwards to force this program on the public,” said OOIDA executive vp Todd Spencer at the time. “They seem oblivious to the inherent safety and security risks of what they are trying to do.”