DOT certifies 2nd Mexican, U.S. truck firms for cross-border program
Despite overwhelming congressional moves aimed at defunding its contentious cross-border trucking pilot program, the U.S. Transportation Department said Wednesday it has moved forward with clearing the second Mexican and American trucking firms for the program.
IBC Inc., a San Diego-based trucking company, and Transportes Rafa, a Mexicali, Baja-based trucking company, have both received authority to make long-haul deliveries in Mexico and the United States, respectively, as part of the cross-border trucking demonstration project.
The program, which officially started Sept. 6, seeks to authorize up to 600 pre-screened Mexican trucks to move beyond the current 20 to 25 miles U.S. border zone limit. Announced earlier this year, the program has faced litigation and vociferous criticism from elected officials, labor unions, and community groups. Most have cited a perceived lack of safety within the Mexican trucking industry and threats to American jobs as reasons for their opposition. DOT officials claim the program contains adequate safeguards to protect the public.
In an 88-7 vote last Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed a $104.6 billion transportation and housing bill, which included a provision that effectively defunds the DOT program. The Senate passed the truck program provision of the bill last Tuesday by a vote of 75-23.
The House counterpart to the Senate bill, which passed overwhelmingly in July, contained a similar provision removing funding from the DOT program. A House-Senate committee must now merge the two into a single bill that must be voted on a final time by both bodies before heading to the White House. President Bush has stated his opposition to the de-funding provision and has threatened to veto the entire transportation and housing bill.