Project allowing Mexican long-haul trucks into U.S. ends

Published 13 March 2009

Two years ago the Department of Transportation launched a pilot project allowing Mexican long-haul trucks to carry their cargo from the Mexican origin all the way to the U.S. destination, without transferring the cargo to an American carrier; Congress removed funding for the project from the omnibus spending bill

The pilot program allowing trucks from Mexico full access to the U.S. is, well, running on fumes (for more in the pilot program, see “Mexican Truck Makes U.S. History,” 10 September 2007 HS Daily Wire; and “Senate Blocks Mexican Trucks Trial Program,” 13 September 2007 HS Daily Wire). The Senate voted late Tuesday to cut funding to the program. The funding cut was included in the omnibus spending bill. President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law today.

We’re thankful to see the end of the program,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). OOIDA has fought the opening of the border to long-haul trucks from Mexico before the program even began more than a year ago. The association even filed suit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. A decision in that case is still pending, but which may now be moot.

The will of the Congress and the American people have now been fulfilled,” Spencer said with the passage of the funding cut into law. “We’re thankful for the Congress for putting the safety and security ahead of the economic interests of a few multinational corporations.”

Land Line Magazine’s Jami Jones writes that Spencer praised the efforts of OOIDA members, friends and family who rose to the occasion repeatedly during the long-fought battle to end the program. “We appreciate our members stepping up and talking to their lawmakers on the importance of this issue,” Spencer said. “We’re especially thankful for those communications, given the history on the issue and the many, many times we have asked them to communicate with lawmakers.”

Spencer said it was that consistent contact with lawmakers and the response from lawmakers that played a major role in seeing the program come to an end. “We believed that lawmakers did what was needed to be done to end the program,” Spencer said.

The provision that ended funding from the cross-border trucking program with Mexico was introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota). Jones notes that it was the second time Dorgan introduced legislation that cut funding from the program. Congress voted to cut the program’s funding in the 2008 appropriations legislation. Dorgan introduced the language. It passed both chambers of Congress and was even signed into law by President George Bush.

Dorgan’s amendment in the 2008 appropriations legislation stated: “None of the funds made available under this Act may be used to establish a