Pointing to an overwhelming rebuke by the House, opponents of an agreement that would allow Mexican trucks to travel freely on U.S. roads are demanding the Department of Transportation come forward and tell the American public whether or not the program will begin next month, reports WND columnist Jerome Corsi.
Last month, the House passed a measure 411–3, the Safe American Roads Act, to limit the secretary of transportation’s authority to allow Mexican trucks to operate beyond U.S. cities and commercial zones on the border. Safety requirements also were enacted in the Iraq supplemental funding bill. But this week, amid a series of high-level meetings, the DOT appears ready to move ahead with the program.
Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the OOIDA, wants an official statement confirming or denying reports the controversial program will commence July 15.
“How many times will DOT and the Bush administration thumb their noses at Congress and the American people,” Spencer asked in a telephone interview with Corsi yesterday.
“That DOT would even consider starting the Mexican trucking company demonstration project now is brazen and outlandish, especially after the important safety requirements put in place and the Safe American Roads Act passed by the House. Doesn’t the vote taken in the House mean anything to DOT?”
The White House and the DOT declined to comment.
DOT officials pushing to start the Mexican truck project argue the Senate has not acted on the House measure, and there is no certainty President Bush would sign the bill or that Congress would override a veto. Corsi says the DOT also is also considering brushing aside provisions in the Iraq emergency funding legislation signed into law by Bush May 25 requiring the agency to validate that a series of safety concerns have been resolved.
Supporters of the program within the DOT also argue the May filing by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in the Federal Register satisfied the House bill’s requirements to post safety regulations approved by the Inspector General before the test can begin.
Spencer argues the supplemental funding bill demanded verification of safety issues that the DOT did not provide in its Federal Register filing.
“If DOT wants to comply with the law, there is really no alternative but to declare that the Mexican trucking demonstration project has been officially put on hold until the new legal requirements are met,” Spencer insisted.
WND has reported the White House has pressed forward with the Mexican truck test despite the apparent scrambling DOT and FMCSA have made to answer objections from the trucking industry, from Congress and from the public over the test since the initial Feb. 23 announcement.
Key program elements remain cloudy. WND documented, for instance, that no criminal database exists on a national level in Mexico to verify Mexican drivers admitted in the test have no criminal basis.