Peters Urges Congress to Back Mexican Trucks Program

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said Monday that Congress should not halt efforts of a cross-border trucking program between the United States and Mexico.

She said the trucking provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement are “delivering economic benefits to U.S. workers, farmers, businesses and consumers.”

The cross-border trucking program, which gives a limited number of Mexican trucking companies full access to U.S. roads, has come under fire from Congress and safety and labor groups over safety and other concerns.

Peters said the project was designed to give U.S. companies access to the highly lucrative business of moving goods across the southern border, and that that access is giving growers and manufacturers a more efficient and profitable way to ship goods into Mexico.

“Whatever their reason, this is no time to let the politics of pessimism dim the promise of prosperity for hundreds of thousands of American drivers, growers and manufacturers. We should be looking for every chance to open new markets for our drivers, to find new buyers for our products, and encourage new consumers for our produce,” Peters said.

She said a coalition of more than 69 U.S. companies and agricultural and business organizations support the project because of the benefits it provides to U.S. exporters who ship billions worth of products and produce into Mexico.

Should Congress choose to end the project, Mexico would have the right under NAFTA to impose fees and tariffs on U.S. goods that would surely result in lost business and lost jobs, she said.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) told Peters last week that DOT was being “arrogant” in its refusal to go along with what he said Congress intended when it prohibited funding for the controversial program.

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