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Congress poised to axe US/Mexican carrier funding

Congress is poised to axe funding for a pilot program that authorizes certain Mexican carriers to operate throughout the United States after action was completed in the Senate December 18--and the House is expected to follow suit December 19.

The plan to block funding for the program is contained in a mega appropriation bill that includes funding for the Department of Transportation (DOT) for 2008. The president is expected to sign the final bill.

In September of this year, the Department of Transportation began a cross-border trucking demonstration project that will allow up to 100 US trucking companies to operate in Mexico and up to 100 Mexican trucking companies to operate beyond commercial zones in the United States.

The program is opposed by several groups, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Brotherhood of Teamsters, Public Citizen, and the Sierra Club. The groups argue that Mexican carriers' trucks are unsafe and do not meet the same standards as those in the United States. DOT and other proponents of the plan contend that the regulations for Mexican trucks are as stringent as those for US trucks.

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