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More Details on the Mexican Truck Travesty

September 8th, 2007

From Minuteman Project’s Robin Hvidston comes this EXCELLENT report. Make sure you sign the PETITION against this travesty and utter lip service we are getting from this government whose only concern is to make more money faster at ANY cost - the cost of safety on our highways and the cost of the jobs of AMERICAN TRUCKERS!

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association - visit this web site:

http://www.ooida.com/

Mexican trucks granted authority to operate in U.S.

http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0129981820070907

The Bush Administration late Thursday announced the name of the first Mexican trucking company that will be granted the pilot program permit for its trucks to travel throughout the U.S.

The truck company is: Transportes Olympic of Nuevo Leon

READ THE MARCH 17, 2007 remarks Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters below

SHE MENTIONS - in March 2007 - Transportes Olympic - the first company now granted the pilot permit!

At the end of her remarks - there is a petition to sign TAKE ACTION!

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Office of Public Affairs

 

REMARKS FOR
THE HONORABLE MARY PETERS
http://www.dot.gov/bios/peters.htm
SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION
BORDER TRADE ALLIANCE

http://www.thebta.org/content/about/
WASHINGTON, D.C.
MARCH 1, 2007
12:30 PM

Good afternoon, everyone. And let me just start out with a big thank you! Art Macias, I appreciate the kind introduction. And thank you to the Border Trade Alliance http://www.thebta.org/content/about/ for your steadfast support of efforts to promote the free flow of trade across our borders.

It is great to be among people who understand that our country grows stronger when our economic policies embrace the freedom that is America’s legacy to the world.

The United States has never shied away from opportunities to compete, to open new markets, and to trade with the world.

And last week, we advanced freedom another step with the announcement that United States and Mexico are beginning a cross-border trucking demonstration program. I am grateful to the Border Trade Alliance for its strong and early support.

This is a very exciting time for all of us who appreciate the expanded freedom and opportunity open trade is bringing to the North American continent.

Fourteen years after the United States, Canada, and Mexico agreed to open our mutual borders, we have seen lower prices and more choices for consumers, expanded markets for businesses, and millions of jobs created in all three NAFTA countries.

Nearly $2.2 billion in trade flows among our three countries on a daily basis. Most of this cross-border trade – 75 percent – is carried by commercial trucks, including thousands of Mexican trucks that arrive in the United States border commercial zones each day. That is why lifting this remaining barrier is so important.

Until now, these trucks have had to stop at artificially drawn lines about 25 miles inside our border. There, they sit and wait, sometimes idling for hours until U.S. trucks arrive and switch the cargo – contributing to congestion and pollution in the border communities.

Even worse, U.S. trucks cannot even go into Mexico.

This inefficient process can add hours, even days, to delivery times. It wastes energy and it wastes money. And restricting the freedom of our businesses to choose the best supplier – or their freedom to ship parts and products efficiently – drives up the cost of goods and makes them less competitive.

A good illustration is an automaker I spoke with in Detroit in January. The company has a plant in Mexico that manufactures engines. But getting them to Detroit where they are put into its trucks requires lengthy transfers and layers of delivery charges. (HOW ABOUT MANUFACTURING THOSE ENGINES IN THE U.S.?) There is a transfer from the Mexican long-haul carrier to the short-haul carrier that takes them over the border, and then another switch to the long-haul truck in the U.S. that carries the engines across the country to the plant. (WHICH MEANS JOBS FOR AMERICAN TRUCKERS!!!!)

Now, that is about to change.

With safety and security programs in place, we are taking the trucking provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement off hold. A limited, one-year demonstration program will permit up to 100 Mexican trucking companies to make deliveries beyond commercial zones at the border. It also will allow an equal number of U.S. trucking companies to cross the border and compete directly in Mexico for the first time ever.

While seizing commercial opportunities is important, doing it safely is vital. And last week, I got a first-hand look at the safety regimes we have in place on both sides of the border.

On Thursday, I joined my Mexican counterpart, Secretary of Communications and Transportation Luis Téllez, in Monterrey.

There, we announced a new program that will enable truck safety inspectors working for the Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct extensive safety audits in Mexico on companies that want to haul cargo into and out of the United States, beyond the commercial zone.

We are in the process of scheduling visits by U.S. inspection teams to Mexico, where they will check out Mexican trucking companies to ensure their trucks and drivers meet the same safety, insurance, and licensing standards that apply to all U.S. truckers. (YEAH SURE!) They will evaluate truck maintenance and driver testing for compliance with U.S. requirements. I saw them at work in Monterrey. They are tough, they are rigorous, and they are professional.


I also was quite impressed with the trucking company we visited, Transportes Olympic or Olympic Transport. The owner showed us the trucks he plans to use for cross-border transport – the oldest was built in 2003. Most of his fleet, in fact, is made up of the exact same models that U.S. trucking companies use today.

I also visited three of our border crossings – in El Paso, Nogales, and Otay Mesa. Again, what I saw impressed me, beginning with the coordination between the Department of Homeland Security and our agency.

(I protested on Sept 6th at OTAY MESA - it was ASTOUNDING the endless stream of trucks with BALD TIRES!!! Below are samples of Mexican truck tires that were approved to drive in the U.S.)

Photo courtesy of Robin Hvidston

(Photo courtesy of Robin Hvidston of MMP)

There is no question that this is a tough inspection program, designed to ensure safe and secure operation of trucks crossing our border.

It is being carried out at modern facilities with modern equipment.

Inside the bay, inspectors examine the trucks from hood to tail-lamps to make sure they meet United States safety standards.

All told, 540 federal and state inspectors are already on the job. They are standing by to screen trucks coming across the border from Mexico to ensure that both the drivers and their vehicles are safe to make deliveries in the United States.

Under our safety inspection plan, each and every truck in the demonstration program will be checked, and any unsafe vehicle or unfit driver will be taken off the road.

We expect it to take about 60 days for the initial safety audits to be done and proof-of-insurance verified and special DOT numbers to be issued to each long-haul truck in the program. Only then will the first Mexican trucks be authorized under the pilot program to begin traveling beyond the border areas.

Through this new pilot program, we are finding a better way to do business with one of this nation’s largest trading partners. (PUTTING AMERICAN TRUCKERS OUT OF WORK) In doing so, we are expanding freedom and creating a more efficient border, and stronger border state economies.

Border communities have demonstrated agility and great ability to innovate over the last two decades during which Mexican trucking has operated exclusively in the commercial zone.

We believe the future will be even brighter.

Communities in the border states will benefit from the stronger trade with Mexico that will come with a more efficient border freight system.

But even as we clear this roadblock to freight movement at our borders, we must also be concerned about how congestion beyond the borders impedes free flow of goods across the continent.
We know that the economic costs of congestion for the freight industry and its impact on productivity in the United States exceed $70 billion a year. And when businesses factor in their schedule changes, buffer time requirements, substitute deliveries, and lost customers to that total, the price we all pay for congestion climbs higher still.

We simply cannot afford to be complacent about congestion and allow it to endanger our freedom to move, our freedom to earn, and our freedom to travel where we please.

Which is why the Bush Administration has taken major aim at the gridlock that is clogging our highways and complicating our lives.

Nine months ago, the Department of Transportation launched a comprehensive Congestion Relief Initiative. We have put a lot of time and effort into developing this comprehensive 6-point action plan that targets congestion in all its forms: metropolitan area congestion, congestion along major corridors, at our busiest ports, at our congested airways, as well as at our largest border crossings.

President Bush’s new budget for the fiscal year that will begin in October targets $175 million directly at congestion relief, including a program we call Corridors of the Future. Under this program, we are teaming up with community organizations, cities, states, and private entities to fight back against the traffic that is choking our major trade and travel corridors and putting our economy and our freedom at risk.

Last month, I announced the 14 proposals that made the first cut because of their strong potential to reduce congestion along some of our busiest routes. Many of the corridors on our short-list are major routes for cross-border commerce, carrying significant amounts of trade today and preparing for even greater volumes tomorrow.

Any number of creative ideas that will help move freight faster are on the table, including truck-auto separation, rail and waterway corridors, and urban truck bypasses. This summer, we will select up to five proposals as Corridors of the Future. Selected projects will be at the top of the Department’s priority list. We will set ambitious permitting schedules for them, identify new financing options to fund the projects, and fast-track them for federal dollars to get them moving from the drawing board to completion faster than ever before.

We are working hard to ensure that vital trade and travel corridors within our country – north, south, east, and west – do not become clogged arteries, slowing our efforts to expand the “close to home” trade that is indispensable to American prosperity.

We also are working more closely than ever with our neighbors to find additional ways to open markets and offer our transportation systems that will give them greater freedom to travel and conduct business across our borders.

This is something Mexican Transport Secretary Tellez and I discussed in Monterrey.

And we will be joined by Canada’s Minster of Transport in Tucson, Arizona, this spring to explore ways to improve the movement of people and goods across our common borders.

This North American Transportation Summit will be the first time transportation ministers from our three countries have come together in a trilateral meeting to discuss how we can work together to make our combined transportation network the safest and most efficient in the world.

It represents a tremendous opportunity to expand on our progress in opening markets and advancing freedom across our common borders by removing barriers that keep large and growing volumes of goods and travelers from moving efficiently.

The story of America is the story of freedom’s advance against barriers of every kind. That includes barriers that hinder the free flow of goods, services, and capital across nations.

We have seen time and again that, when these barriers are removed and people are allowed to trade freely with each other, it promotes not only our bedrock values but our prosperity as well.

That is why we will continue to focus on ensuring that the United States transportation system can meet the demands of exporters looking to reach new markets, passengers seeking new destinations, and consumers who depend on the efficient movement of goods and people – not just with our closest neighbors, but in markets around the world.

The Border Trade Alliance is a strong and persuasive voice in promoting freedom of trade and freedom of movement. Thank you for your commitment to that vision, and for allowing me to be a part of your conference today.

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