I read with interest the report from the San Diego Union-Tribune on Friday. This report, “Mexican trucks needed for U.S. cross-border pilot program: U.S. officials urge Mexican companies to apply,” astounded me.
As most of my readers know I have long been opposed to the cross border trucking program with Mexico, and have written about it on a number of occasions in Challenge Magazine and even in World Net Daily.
The most common arguments against the program are related to safety. I have never discounted those and find them to be quite legitimate. But, I have focused my opposing comments on the concern I have for the American truck driver – both for personal safety south of the border (note the State Department’s Official Travel Warning) and for jobs.
Will the American truck driver who has to meet far more environmental, safety, and other regulatory demands at all times (not just when crossing the border) be able to compete with lower labor/freight rates and differing conditions south of the border?
NOW, according to this report, we have the U.S. Department of Transportation officials travelling to Mexico to address Mexican trucking companies. They were expressing concern about not having enough Mexican carriers in the current pilot program to prove they are safe, so they are actively encouraging/recruiting more Mexican carriers to apply. Is that really the roll of the US DOT – to recruit more to the pilot program, or is their legitimate role to simply operate the program?
If there’s not enough interest without actively recruiting, then that probably tells us quite a bit right there.
Of course, Canacar (who represents the Mexican trucking industry) suggests there are too many restrictions which is why the participation is limited. Too many restrictions on ensuring the safety of American roads – really?
According to the report, Marcelo Perez, an investigator with the FMCSA, indicated they are finding themselves in a position now where they don’t have sufficient safety data to definitively determine if the program should continue. That’s rather telling as well.
Here’s what we do know from the FMCSA web site:
- 2 carriers are actively participating in the program
- One of those has a vehicle out of service rate of 20%
- There are 15 other carriers pending approval of operating authority
I did contact Sandra Dibble, the reporter for the San Diego U-T to see if she had further insight into the program. She did not, though her article is quite inclusive.
Based on this report, and the fact that the President’s DOT budget has significant funds proposed to not only operate the program, but to build new facilities along the border to manage the requirements, it’s obvious this program is not going away.