As Trade Between U.S., Mexico Tops $500 Billion, FMCSA official’s reckless comment could have unintended consequences

Bridge I & II in Laredo Texas
Bridges I & II linking sister cities of Laredo Texas and Nuevo Laredo Mexico. Trade between the two countries topped $500 billion dollars. Trade, equals jobs, for both countries
Trade between the United States and Mexico reached half a trillion dollars in 2011 and cross-border commerce continues to grow despite the drug violence in Mexico.

The final tally came out to $500 billion in goods and services traded between the two countries, according to a paper by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars and Arizona State University’s North American Center for Transborder Studies.

As this is occurring, William Quade, the FMCSA associate administrator for enforcement and program delivery came out last week with his claim that the cross-border trucking program that started last fall might not continue because of low participation by Mexican long-haul carriers. He went on to say that one reason Mexican carriers are hesitant to participate is because the Mexican trucking companies believe the program might not last very long.

Quade should have come out with a more positive statement, assuring Mexican transportation executive that the program is not going away, despite the best effort of groups such as OOIDA, The Teamsters and their allies among the various bogus safety groups.

And Quade should also have pointed out that despite the claims of the opposition, we haven’t seen the 10’s of 1000’s of “unsafe, dangerous, non-compliant” Mexican trucks crossing the border as they prophesied.

Instead, as it was in 2007, the Mexicans have entered the country in full compliance with our laws and regs and operated professionally and safely.

David Hendricks, writing in a San Antonio Express-News editorial has this to say;

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has failed to look at the program from the point of the view of Mexican trucking company owners. Mexican carriers would like the chance to make U.S. deliveries, but they would have to invest in the process of applying for U.S. authority, submitting to inspections, training and licensing drivers, acquiring insurance and, perhaps, upgrading their fleets.

Cross Border Drayage
Cross border drayage truck clears customs entering the US from Mexico. Trucks such as this are used mainly for hauls within 10 miles on either side of the border. Not "junk' by any means.
That’s fine, but the Mexican truck company owners did this already in 1995 before the U.S. government nixed the border opening as scheduled by NAFTA. The owners invested again as the 2007 pilot program took off, only to see it end abruptly in 2009. Who could blame them for being hesitant under the new program that began last fall?

That’s why only 33 Mexican trucks have crossed the border zone under the new program as of two weeks ago.

Hendricks goes on to state the obvious and confirm what’s been said on Mexico Trucker Online for the past 5  years.

“Cross-border trucking has the potential to reduce the cost of North American freight movements, which could benefit consumers. The program offers a chance to improve security of freight movements and reduce the possibility of smuggling. Given time, the program eventually could take off, and those benefits could materialize.”