Bi-partisian gang of lawmakers to “DEMAND” end to Mexican cross border proposal

Safe, fully inspected Mexican trucks such as this one would be allowed access to US
Safe, fully inspected Mexican trucks such as this one would be allowed access to US under the proposed Pilot Program with Mexico
It never ends. Citing bogus concerns over safety, security and cost, a bipartisan gang Congressmen, bought and paid for with Teamster funds is demanding that the federal Department of Transportation cancel plans to re-introduce a cross-border trucking program with Mexico.

Taking the lead with a letter on 4/4/2011, Rep. Duncan Hunter (D-CA) along with Rep. Daniel Lipinski, (D-Ill), Rep. Rep. Bob Filner, (D-Ca) and 19 other Democrats along with 12 Tea Party Republicans, has a letter that is to be delivered to La Hood and made public on Wednesday afternoon, DEMANDING LaHood dump the plans for a renewed cross border program with Mexico.

The cross border program would bring the US in compliance with our obligations under the NAFTA agreement and permit Mexico to lift the $2.4 billion in legal retaliatory tariffs instituted after 17 years of the United States refusing to comply with their promises.

Before 198, trucks from Mexico and Canada were permitted into the U.S. with proper licensing, although they did not extend the same courtesy to U.S. truckers. In the wake of a moratorium, Canada quickly resolved its differences. Mexico did not. However, more than 800 Mexican carriers were “grandfathered” in under the 1982 executive order prohibiting foreign carriers in the US.

In a draft copy of the letter sent to Mexico Trucker Online, the usual bogus concerns about safety on U.S. roads, the ability to properly inspect all trucks at the border and the prospect of drug cartels using the cross-border program as a shipping outlet for drugs are raised. The government’s funding of electronic tracking systems for Mexican trucks, which we oppose but which has been modified is also mentioned.

Some of the highlights of the letter include:

The cross-border trucking program clearly puts foreign interests above our own. It’s bad for the American economy. It’s bad for American truckers and the entire commercial trucking industry.” – Duncan Hunter

In our opinion, what is bad for the economy and bad for the image of the United States, is our continued non compliance with our international obligations which have cost the US more than 30,000 jobs and 15% or more of market share in our agri business sector, lost to Canada, that will take decades to recover, if ever.

The letter goes on to say;

“While we understand the need to work to remove the unfair tariffs that Mexico has imposed on U.S. agriculture products as a result, to so should not come at the expense of the safety of our highways”

And again, nothing unfair about the perfectly legal tariff’s Mexico finally instituted and will certainly raise, if we fail to act upon our obligations this time. Historically, Mexican trucks and their drivers have proven to be safer and more compliant with US safety laws and regulations than have our own people.

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill, chimes in, proving he knows nothing of what he has been paid to oppose by stating;

“Past inspection failures and gaps in security at the border show that opening our roads to Mexican truck traffic could result in the entry of unsafe vehicles and drivers that pose a threat to the safety of the public.”

It is glaringly apparent none of them have seen the results of the past demonstration program, the FMCSA/CVSA inspection reports of the OP-2 carriers operating in the border zone nor realize just exactly how each and every vehicle legally entering this country is subjected to an inspection of varying degrees. And with a limited number that would operate under the proposed pilot program, EVERY SINGLE ONE would and could be thoroughly inspected as set out in the proposed new pilot program.

Lipinski goes on to opine;

“The fact that the agreement would also require taxpayers to subsidize required equipment for Mexican truckers that American truck operators would have to pay for themselves is yet another reason that it should be rejected”

Which is something we happen to agree with. We reject the notion of requiring EOBR’s in any truck, without regard to nationality or domicile. However, Lipinski and the rest fail to realize that Mexican OP-2 carriers and others, pay their proportionate share of highway taxes through fuel purchases and IFTA payments. However, DOT has revised the proposal to allow GPS systems to be used for tracking purposes to ensure compliance with US cabotage and hours of service regulations. 85% of Mexican carriers are equipped with Qualcomm communications suites which would comply with this requirement.

Interestingly enough, this requirement and all the others in the proposed pilot program documents, were demanded by those now opposing implementation of the program. Go figure. It ain’t about safety people!

And finally, they get to the latest excuse, which is baseless, about the big boogie men of the cartels using the trucks to smuggle drugs.

The letter claims;

“Setting up a program that allows Mexican long haul trucks to cross the border and move freely through the U.S. could increase this method of smuggling by the drug cartels and serve as a resource for their criminal activity”

Adds Lipinski,

“Inviting trucks from Mexico to freely transport goods throughout the U.S. provides drug traffickers with another potential avenue to exploit at a time when crime and violence in Mexico are on the rise.”

They ignore or in their ignorance, don’t realize that dues to the post 9/11 security at the border, commercial trucks and others sometimes wait for hours in line to make their way across the border. Waiting in that line, permits CBP and Customs inspectors to “walk the dogs”, observe drivers reactions or act on gut instinct to single out trucks for a secondary inspection or more.

Sure, drugs are crossed on occasion in semi’s, and generally are caught. Those that aren’t have usually been loaded on the US side, with drivers taking advantage of the idea of making a quick buck.

Mexican trucks or not. Pilot program or not. Drugs will continue to flow into this country as long as the demand is there.

We’ll have the text of this letter, bought and paid for by the TEAMSTERS and other opponents when it is released officially tomorrow, probably in a circle jerk of glad handing on Capitol Hill.