House adds restrictions to Mexican truck plan
WASHINGTON — About 100 Mexican trucking companies will still be allowed to haul deeper into the U.S. — but the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee attached some strings.
In a vote of 66-0, the Committee approved the long-awaited plan by the Bush Administration to permit Mexican truckers beyond the 20-mile commercial zone they’re currently limited to, but under the new bill Mexican carriers would also be barred from handling domestic freight point-to-point in the U.S.
The cabatoge rule has extended to Canadian carriers for years.
Critics fear Mexican truckers allowed further into the US will poach domestic freight.
Under the three-year pilot program, the selected carriers — with a maximum of 1,000 vehicles between them — will undergo onsite equipment safety and facility audits. Inspectors will also check the licences, insurance, driving and medical records of Mexican drivers before they cross the border.
The Committee bill would also require Mexican companies to prove that their drivers are proficient in English. Furthermore, it specifies criteria for the pilot program, including setting up an independent panel to evaluate the test program and getting certification from the inspector general that safety and inspection requirements have been met.
The bill next goes to the full House for a vote.
The DOT said this week it would delay its plan, and will take public comments on it this month.
The program is not without its critics, however. Late last month a coalition made up of The Teamsters Union, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, and special interest groups Public Citizen and the Sierra Club launched a lawsuit against the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in a California court in an attempt to bring the program down.
This post is part of the thread: Mexico Cross Border Pilot Program – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.