When NAFTA or the (North American Free Trade Agreement) was introduced under the Clinton Administration there were those that thought it was a good idea and others that want to explore the idea further. After much debate NAFTA was signed into law under President Bush and now we are going to have to be looking over our shoulders because soon if the Federal Department of Transportation or D.O.T. has their way our southern boards will be opened up to Mexico and their trucking industry.
A little known program at the time slipped through the cracks of Congress with little or no objection to and that program is called "The Cross-Border Plan." Now I see that many of you have not heard of this program because in the first round of debates on NAFTA it was tabled and thought dead in committee. But as we all know things have a funny way of coming back to bite us right where it will hurt the most and that is what happened here. This program called for the U.S. D.O.T. to pick from application they had received from Mexican trucking companies those they felt could meet the programs criteria and offered them U.S. operating authority while they, the D.O.T. over saw the operation of these companies that were now setting up operations in the U.S.
Now let's fast forward to the present. We have come to the end of the trial program and Congress and the D.O.T. now say that they have proven that Mexican trucks are safe and we can open up the borders permanently. Does anyone see a problem here? The list of problems is way too long to even begin to list here but if we just look at what has been happening in Mexico over the last few years with shootings of their citizens and shots being fired across the border at our citizens and border patrol agents, not to mention all of the illegal's that have been streaming in since the start of time. Now we get to the drugs and the main source of the money that flows from our country to Mexico and all the problems that come with drug smuggling. Remember it's all about the money.
Congressmen lead the way to stop DOT's attempt to permanently open our southern border. With the ink barely dry on the newly signed "Cross-Border Trucking Program" with Mexico, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR, along with Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-CA, and Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill, immediately introduced a bill on July 6 that will put a stop to permanent operating authority and taxpayer funded monitoring of Mexican motor carriers.
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood's return flight from Mexico probably hadn't even landed in Washington, DC, yet when DeFazio, Hunter and Lipinski filed HR-2407, the "Protecting America's Roads Act." "AS I have said many times, three issues must be addressed in the "Cross-Border Trucking Program: Safety, Security, and Job Loss. I have sent several letters to DOT asking them to address these issues. My calls for caution have gone unanswered. Now the legislation that we have introduced will put the brakes on a bad deal for American truck drivers and the traveling public," DeFazio said.
This bipartisan bill seeks to restrict the "Cross-Border Trucking Program" to a pilot program that lasts no more than three years. The bill would prohibit the Department of Transportation from granting operating authority that extends beyond the duration of the pilot program, which effectively would kill any attempt to grant permanent operating authority to Mexican motor carriers.
"The latest step in the Obama administration's persistent maneuvering, which is assumingly intended to mislead Congress and the general public, put the pilot program on course for permanent status. In just a few short years, the program was set to become fully operational without due examination of whether any benefits outweigh a predictable and much longer list of drawbacks," Hunter said. The bill also shifts the financial responsibility of electronic monitoring of Mexican motor carriers participating in the program back off the U.S. taxpayers. Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of Owner Operator and Independent Drivers Association stated, "We are pleased to see that congressmen have moved swiftly to interject some sanity into this blatant maneuver to permanently open the border to long-haul trucks from Mexico."