House Passes Bill to Halt Mexican Trucks Program

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

The House voted 395-18 late Tuesday to halt the Department of Transportation’s year-old program to allow Mexican trucks free access to U.S. roads.

“This bill will force the Administration to stay true to its word that this program will remain a short-term, limited experiment,” said Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a co-sponsor of the legislation. 

The head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration called the vote “irresponsible” and said the U.S. needed to honor its international commitments.

“At a time of surging exports and growing demand by U.S. truck drivers for new opportunities, it is simply irresponsible for Congress to deny American drivers the opportunity to compete in Mexico and American shippers a more efficient and timely way of getting their goods south,” FMCSA Administrator John Hill said in a statement.

The measure now goes to the Senate. Last month, DOT said it would continue the cross-border trucking pilot program — which allows Mexican trucks to travel on U.S. roadways beyond a 25-mile border zone — for an additional two years.

“When DOT began the program one year ago they assured us they would fully evaluate the pilot before opening the boarder to Mexican trucks,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who co-sponsored the measure and who chairs the panel’s highways and transit subcommittee. 

“Given the record of DOT, without further congressional action it can be assumed they will fully open the border to Mexican trucks without addressing significant safety concerns,” DeFazio said.  “This legislation is necessary for the protection of the traveling American public.”