Obama opens border, defies unions, and ignores Congress on the controversial cross-border issue with Mexico. Mexican officials are revealing more details on the recent agreement between Obama and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon. This should be good!
In 1995 the US and Mexico started a pilot program to allow Mexican trucks to travel throughout the US delivering loads brought in from Mexico. The US trucks were allowed to do the same in Mexico, but safety and security concerns spurred the United States to bar Mexican trucks on U.S. roadways. 16 years later the safety and security concerns still exist, but Obama agreed to allow the Mexican trucks back into the US.
Obama signed a 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which included a provision to end the Department of Transportation’s trucking project with Mexico. In retaliation the Mexican government placed illegally $2.5 billion in tariffs on a variety of U.S. goods. But, sadly our government even though repeatedly being told to investigate these so-called tariffs refused and whimpered-out and paid the tariffs.
This time around the authorizations to allow the Mexican trucks onto the US highways will be permanent. Also, the prior pilot program only allowed 100 Mexican carriers to do business beyond the border zone in the United States. This time around the program has no limit on the carriers or number of trucks to be allowed into the US – provided they can pass an inspection of their trucks and the accreditation of their operators.
“Unlike the failed pilot program, under the new plan there will be no limit to the number of companies who can participate and the trucks they can register for cross-border transport,” said Dionisio Perez-Jacome, Mexico’s Communications and Transportation Minister.
This will happen in three stages:
- The first stage will be the application and inspection of the Mexican trucks and the accreditation of their operators.
- The second stage starts with a three-month period of thorough inspections of the vehicles crossing the border, checks that will decrease starting the fourth month.
- The final stage involves the Mexican companies being notified of their permanent authorization, which can be granted after 18 months of successful operations. This authorization can only be revoked if a safety regulation is broken.
The United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood along with Obama “tout” that this new cross-border trucking plan with Mexico is going to create jobs. But, it does not take a genius to see that by allowing Mexican trucks into the US will cut jobs.
Currently, three trucks and three drivers are used to get goods across the border, Ferrari said. It comes out to about $150 per crossing. Multiplied by the 4.5 million annual truck crossings, the savings generated could exceed $675 million, said Mexican Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari.
Steve Russell, chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Celadon Group Inc., which serves the U.S., Canada and Mexico said, “The theory behind cross-border trucking is that one tractor would replace three.” in a recent article. I know my math is not perfect, but that looks like it will remove jobs from the trucking industry in both countries.
So again, will someone from Obama’s administration please explain to me how this creates jobs for Americans?
Here is a kicker, Mexico reserves the right to re-introduce its illegal tariffs if any parts of the agreement are violated by the United States. Strong arm tatics, and the US does not have the guts to stand up to them.
The fact that a cross-border program is in any stage of development does not sit well with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) leadership. “With all the talk about the need for every initiative to create jobs, it’s absolutely shocking,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “The only jobs this ill-conceived idea can create are for non-citizens who will take jobs away from U.S. citizens.”
Coupled with the fact that the program would threaten U.S. trucking jobs, Spencer is equally concerned about the safety and security of truckers and U.S. highway users alike. “It’s a pipe dream that the safety and security issues can be resolved, given the general state of disarray or war that exists in Mexico,” he said.
So guess what needs to be done now! Yes, that’s right get on the phones and call your senators and representatives and demand them to kill this deal now. You can call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 provide the operator with your home zip code and they will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.
If you as a US truck-driver value your job then you must contact your Senators and Representatives and explain to them why this is not a good idea. It is ironic that the DOT is always talking about how their number one priority is Safety – then they do this.
One more piece of good news to you is that a Department of Transportation official speaking on background confirmed that under the plan, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will require Mexican trucks to use electronic on-board recorders as part of their satellite tracking systems.
The systems will be paid for by FMCSA to ensure that the agency will own and control all the data they gather, the spokesman said.
Where does the FMCSA get its money from? You, the tax payer! Not only are you getting screwed for the jobs that will be lost – or the safety issues on the highways – but you get to pay to track these trucks.
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