December 19, 2007: The omnibus spending bill (H.R. 2764) passed by the House Dec. 17 contains language denying funds for the Transportation Department's pilot program under which 100 Mexican trucks would be able to travel freely within the United States to make cargo deliveries.
Mexico-domiciled trucks have been limited to the commercial zones along the borders of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The pilot program was developed to comply with the North American Free Trade Agreement's trucking provisions that have been delayed.
President Bush has threatened to veto the spending measure if its passes in its present form.
The House approved the measure by a 253-154 vote. The Senate could vote on it as early as the evening of Dec. 18.
Under NAFTA, which entered into force on Jan. 1, 1994, Mexican trucks were to have been given complete access to four U.S. border states in 1995 and access throughout the United States in 2000. But the Clinton administration, citing safety concerns, failed to implement the trade agreement's trucking provisions.
In February 2007, the Department of Transportation announced a one-year pilot program that would allow a limited number of Mexican trucks to deliver goods within the continental United States (37 DLR A-8, 2/26/07 ).
DOT began operation of the cross-border trucking program Sept. 6 after a court challenge brought by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters was preliminarily denied (174 DLR A-11 ).
By Rossella Brevetti