Senators Question DOT on Mexican Trucks Program

Senators and Bush administration officials clashed at a hearing Tuesday about the legality the Department of Transportation’s pilot program allowing Mexican trucks into the United States, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said DOT had gone ahead with the program even though Congress cut its funding in December, the Times said. (Click here for related story.)

DOT’s Inspector General released a report on Monday that the program has seen too few trips to be statistically valid. Less than 7% of Mexican trucks crossing the U.S. border moved past the 25-mile border zone, the report said. (Click here for related story.)

Inspector General Calvin Scovel told the hearing Tuesday that despite plans to inspect every Mexican truck when crossing the border, methods to check driver’s licenses and inspection decals were not yet in place, the Times reported.

The program is also opposed by the Teamsters union and public safety groups, including Public Citizen, which has challenged DOT in court on other trucking issues, including driver hours-of-service rules.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association testified that the program is not consistent with U.S. safety standards and not required by the North American Free Trade Agreement.