Senate OKs Mexico truck ban
Proponents argue vehicles not proven safe enough to drive in
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:10 p.m. ET Sept 11, 2007
By a 74-24 vote, the Senate approved a proposal by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., prohibiting the Transportation Department from spending money on a North American Free Trade Agreement pilot program giving Mexican trucks greater access to
The proposal is part of a $106 billion transportation and housing spending bill that the Senate hopes to vote on later this week. The House approved a similar provision to Dorgan’s in July as part of its version of the transportation spending bill.
Supporters of Dorgan’s amendment argued the trucks are not yet proven safe. Opponents said the
Until last week, Mexican trucks were restricted to a commercial border zone stretching about 20 miles inside the
Blocking the trucks would help Democrats curry favor with organized labor, an important ally for the 2008 presidential elections.
“Why the urgency? Why not stand up for the (truck) standards that we’ve created and developed in this country?” Dorgan asked.
Ban about limiting competition?
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who drafted a Republican alternative to Dorgan’s amendment, said the attempt to block the trucks appeared to be about limiting competition and may amount to discrimination against
“I would never allow an unsafe truck on our highways, particularly
John Hill, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, decried the vote saying it is “a sad victory for the politics of fear and protectionism.”
But Teamsters general president Jim Hoffa, whose union has sued to stop the trucks, cheered the decision. “We don’t want to share our highways with dangerous trucks from
One carrier already allowed in
The trucking program allows up to 100 Mexican carriers to send their trucks on
So far, the Department of Transportation has granted a single Mexican carrier, Transportes Olympic, access to
One of the carrier’s trucks crossed the border in
© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.