Congressman vows DOT
Aug 24, 2008 4:56 PM
A member of Congress has vowed he will "make certain" a bill to shutdown the Department of Transportation's US-Mexico cross-border program is approved.
According to information on his Web site, Rep Jim Oberstar (D-MN) stated: "I intend to have the full House of Representatives approve our bill as quickly as possible, and make certain that the voice of Congress is heard loud and clear at the Department of Transportation and that this program is finally shut down.”
A House committee had given the nod to the shutdown measure, but shortly afterwards the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it would extended the project for two years, according to information posted on the House committee Web site and a news release from FMCSA.
"The Secretary of Transportation continues to flout the will of Congress," Oberstar stated. "Last year, despite strong, bipartisan congressional objections, the (Transportation) Secretary instituted what was supposed to be a one-year pilot program to allow a limited number of selected trucking companies from each side of the border greater access to US and Mexican highways. When Congress voted to stop the program, the DOT parsed the language of the law in such a way as to allow this misguided Mexican truck program to continue. Now, just days after the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a bipartisan bill to hold the DOT to its original plan and terminate this pilot program after one year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announces its intent to extend this program for two more years. I am greatly disappointed that this announcement was made on the first day of the congressional recess. That is certainly no coincidence."
The cross-border program also is opposed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association, Brotherhood of Teamsters, Public Citizen, and the Sierra Club.
The FMCSA/Department of Transportation (DOT) program is part of the southern border truck and bus crossing provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). FMCSA has begun inspections of Mexican carriers and, to date, has authorized 27 Mexican carriers to operate within the United States. Ten US carriers have obtained Mexican authorization to operate in the interior of Mexico, including tank truck carriers Stagecoach and Distribution LP, El Paso TX; Plastic Express, City of Industry CA; and A&R Transport, Joliet IL.
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