DOT proposes plans to resume cross-border trucking program
Washington – Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on Jan. 6 released a document for a new long-haul cross-border Mexican trucking program (.pdf file).
A cross-border trucking demonstration project begun in September 2007 under the Bush administration allowed Mexican motor carriers access on U.S. highways past commercial border zones, as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement. An equal number of U.S. carriers were allowed beyond Mexican border zones. Members of Congress, safety advocates, industry groups and others voiced concerns about the project's effect on national security and highway safety, but DOT officials said safety and security measures were in place and halting the program would cause negative economic effects on trade. After Congress terminated the program in March 2009, the Mexican government began taking retaliatory actions against U.S. exports.
LaHood said the new program prioritizes safety while satisfying the United States' international obligations. He said "the Obama administration will continue to work with Congress and other stakeholders to put safety first. And, as specifics of the program are developed, the administration will continue to ensure that the program delivers job growth and economic opportunities here at home."
A formal proposal is expected to be announced in the coming months.