[UPDATED]Opposition to Cross Border Truck program has nothing to do with safety or security concerns

Trucks wait to clear US Customs. The passage of HR6630 will produce longer waits resulting in more fuel consumption and pollution at border crossingsThose who have followed the debate on the Mexican Cross Border Program, might have noticed as time passed, Todd Spencer and OOIDA for example kept changing their reasons for opposing FMCSA Cross Border Program. First it was “Safety issues”, then economic issues, both which have been debunked here and in other places.

Jimmy Hoffa continues to rant about those “dangerous and unsafe” Mexican trucks putting the American motoring public at risk, without offering one iota of proof to back up his accusations.

Even Steve Sommers on America’s Trucking Network has toned down the rhetoric, insisting his opposition to the program is from the viewpoint of American’s losing jobs, which ain’t gonna happen.

So what the truth behind the opposition? Could it be pure old “Mexican bashing”, the xenophobia  that is sweeping America, pushed in part by groups who are preying on the fear and insecurities of Americans, while putting their hands in the pockets of those who respond to their promises of ridding America of Mexicans? I think the truth lies somewhere in between.

Let’s backtrack 15 months to June 22, 2007 and an article that appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review in reponse to an Editorial by Trib staff titled MEXICAN BACKFIRE Dimitri Vassilaros came across with this scathing and totally false editorial.

Of course, we came back with our usual commonsense COUNTERPOINT

FMCSA Administrator John Hill came back with a published rebuke in the Trib in which he stated;

t’s hard to believe a legitimate newspaper like the Trib would publish a column so grossly distorted as the one Dimitri Vassilaros wrote about the federal government’s cross-border trucking demonstration program at the U.S.-Mexican border (”Another Mexican rigging?” June 22 and PghTrib.com).

he fact that Mr. Vassilaros chose incoherent rhetoric over accuracy is a sign of just how hollow the arguments are against a program that will protect the safety of our highways, create new opportunities for U.S. truckers, lower the cost of consumer goods and give an added boost to our economy.

What a shame for Pittsburgh readers to be deprived of both accuracy and reason with their morning coffee.

Which brings me to the original point of what is driving the opposition to this program, other than Jimmy Hoffa.

In an editorial in todays Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the writer of the article, MEXICAN TRUCKS, BRAKING FOR SANITY, comes right out and makes it crystal clear. Xenophobia and Mexican bashing in an area where it is doubtful one will ever see a Mexican Common Carrier operating.

The House wants to do what the Bush administration should have done long ago — put the brakes on Mexican trucks freewheeling on American roads.

The 395-18 vote by lawmakers to end the cross-border trucking project — more than enough to override a presidential veto — makes a statement about the creeping Mexicanization of America. And given the lax enforcement of American immigration law (12 million to 20 million illegals in the U.S.), about President Bush’s commitment to border integrity.

A pilot program permits up to 500 trucks from 100 Mexican companies access to U.S. roads. Critics contend Mexico lacks adequate driver drug testing, hours-of-service standards and that the program could contribute to smuggling or insurance fraud. And there remain serious questions about the safety of the Mexican trucks.

The Bush administration claims it will ensure that Mexican trucking will be subject to thorough scrutiny. But should the public believe Mr. Bush?

On Feb. 23, 2007, at a Mexican trucks news conference in El Paso, Texas, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said it was only a “yearlong demonstration program,” a “pilot program,” and a “test program.”

Last month, the administration quietly said it would continue the “pilot” program for two more years.

Ending mission-creep? Mission accomplished.

The idiots just don’t get it! It has nothing to do with lax immigration enforcement, if there is such a thing, I happen to disagree.

Smuggling and insurance fraud? Yeah right! These carriers are run with an iron fist by their owners who want nothing to happen to their investments.

Mission Accomplished? In your dreams!

Politicians in it for the Pork

Anybody wonder whose ass Jimmy Hoffa has his hand inserted in? Let’s look at one of the co-sponsers of the bill HR-6630 and judging by his recent comments, you decide.

Reps. Nick J. Rahall and Alan B. Mollohan, both D-W.Va, according to the CHARLESTON (WV) GAZETTE “are working to prevent uninspected Mexican trucks from crossing the border into the United States to deliver goods anywhere across the nation.” Hmmm. Uninspected trucks? Where? Not from Mexico I assure you. That is a well documented Hoffa lie.

Rahall, vice chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said,

“The safety of our roadways must come first.

“We cannot have Mexican trucks disobeying our traffic and cargo standards and endangering the safety of American drivers. I am proud to have co-sponsored this bill, which helps protect the lives of the many West Virginians on the roads each day.”

He is correct in that statement about traffic laws and cargo standards. The only problem is there is no evidence that this has occurred. To the contrary, if one looks at the SAFERSYS stats on each of the participants, it reveals out of all the carriers participating, only one driver, one instance, has received a citation for a moving violation. Further assessment reveals an extraordinary number of Level I inspections with very few OOS orders being issued.

Mollohon chimed in, reading from talking points handed out by Hoffa and the Teamsters.

“The Department of Transportation has always signaled its intent to fully open the border to Mexican trucks without addressing significant safety concerns,”

“This legislation is necessary for the protection of the traveling American public. We now have uninspected trucks and untested drivers on our highways.”

Untested drivers? I would hate to be forced to go through the crap these guys have to do to obtain their Licencia Federal de Conductor

Come to think of it, I don’t know how many of us would be capable of controlling a 100,000 pound plus set of 48′ doubles which is common in Mexico.

Mollohan opposes the program because of Mexico’s weak regulations over the hours truckers can drive, vehicle safety, driver training and driver licensing. (Right out of the TEAMSTERS playbook and totally false)

Further proving that Rahall is in the hip pocket of the protectionist element out there, Rahall criticized the program for failing to hold Mexico-based drivers to the same federal standards that govern U.S. commercial trucking operations, including drug testing and criminal background checks for drivers who haul hazardous chemicals and other materials.

It is obvious as the nose on your face, that Mexican drivers, Canadian drivers and American drivers all MUST adhere to our laws when in this country. There is no evidence to the contrary (and the rants of Jimmy Hoffa and Todd Spencer is not evidence) that Mexican drivers receive any special consideration. If anything, they are more tightly controlled than the rest of us. And considering that Mexican carriers are not permitted to haul haz-mat under this program, that is a non issue. It is interesting though, that cross border drayage drivers are permitted to bring haz-mat loads across the border into the commercial zone, providing they are haz mat certified on their Licencia Federal. A strange double standard.

Another “Hoffaism” from Rahall….

“This is just one example of why I voted against NAFTA more than a decade ago,” Rahall said. “Its programs not only put American jobs and the American economy at risk, but also pose serious dangers to the safety of American citizens.”

Again pure bullshit from James Hoffa and Todd Spencer. 100, 1000 Mexican trucks can and will not have any effect on American jobs nor the American economy in any manner.

We’ll end this with another misguided “Hoffaism” from Hollohon.

“In addition, during the past year, the administration has been unable to demonstrate an ability to adequately inspect Mexican carriers to ensure the safety of American highways, “The safety of the traveling public must come before the administration’s unwise loyalty to free trade.”

Yep, for certain Hoffa and his gang of thugs have their hands square up the ass of these two “Representatives” And like the people of Pennsylvania, it is doubtful that West Virginia will ever see a Mexican truck on it’s highways. And if they did, they wouldn’t know it because they are no different from ours.

Yep, lies, xenophobia, protectionism and nativism! Nothing to do with highway safety or other valid concerns.

UPDATE – Since this was written, another West Virginia politician without a clue chimes in

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., was a co-sponsor of legislation passed last week to end a program giving access to Mexican trucks to cross roads along the Southwest border.

Capito gave road and driver safety as one of several reasons for backing the legislation.

“From unreliable truck maintenance, to the risk of contaminated imported vegetables, to the need to protect our small businesses and the truck drivers they employ – this bill is warranted and overdue,” she said.

“I appreciate the strong bipartisan support this bill has received throughout the committee process.”

God god almighty! We really do have some morons in Congress! Unreliable truck maintenance? That’s a new one in the debate! And doesn’t this guy realize that this has nothing to do with food safety?

These do nothings seem to take Hoffa’s money and say “how high” when Jimbo says jump!