Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Trucks Stopped Dead In Their Tracks?

Late last week, officials scrambled to begin moving Mexican trucks across the border beyond the 25-mile limit even though U.S. trucks are still limited to 25 miles in Mexico. They finally pushed the first one across in the dead of night last Saturday avoiding negative publicity about the program. Little did they know a truck that was not authorized to carry explosives in Mexico was breaking the rules and would end up in front page news as it exploded leaving a 40-foot crater as a memorial.

Even though the fireball express wasn't bound for the U.S., it took just 1 day for the Senate to act on a previously House-passed ammendment (to a transportation funding bill) voting 74-24 to shut down the pilot trucking program. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa in a bi-partisan effort focused on previous safety problems with Mexican trucks and an obvious reaction to the explosion. No doubt, Hoffa and the Teamsters had some influence as Senators look forward to next year's elections and upcoming presidential primaries.

What's interesting about the vote is that it attached an ammendment to a bill President Bush has already said he would veto because it's too bloated. That bill also carries funding for bridge repairs even though the Transportation budget already carries funding for that purpose. This puts President Bush in a position of having to kill the bill risking criticism that he doesn't support fixing the collapsing bridge problem. Those who vote for the ammendment get to report to the Teamsters that they did all they could to save union jobs, but Bush vetoed the bill. At this point, it looks more like Senators were making a statement rather than standing up for the Teamsters. In any case, more questions have been raised about who really supports the NAFTA trucking program which appears to be in jeopardy.


Anonymous said...

As the truth starts to emerge after the Mexican truck explosion, the public is learning that Mary Peters has been pushing to open the border to Mexican trucks since February, over the objections of many.
Last Thursday, Mary Peters was advocating opening the border to Mexican truckers, even over the safety objections of the Inspector General (from the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper). The final roadblock for a controversial program to allow Mexican trucks to operate beyond a 25-mile strip north of the U.S.-Mexico border was a set of concerns raised by the Department of Transportation's own inspector general. But in a letter delivered Thursday to both houses of Congress, Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters overrode the inspector general's concerns. Peters also said the program is important “for maintaining our relationship with one of our nation's largest trading partners.”
Mary Peters, U.S. Transportation Secretary, in February announced plans for 100 Mexican carriers to send hundreds or thousands of trucks throughout the United States for the first time since 1982.
Critics, including several trucking and safety organizations and dozens of lawmakers, complain the administration has failed to guarantee the trucks will be safe. Mary Peters does not care about the safety of driving families like mine and the security threat created by granting Mexican truckers unrestricted access into the United States.
It gets worse. Under Mary Peters plan, the murderous drug smuggler and Mexican illegal alien Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, held a valid commercial drivers license on Feb. 17, 2005, the date that he escaped from Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. Imagine these drug-smuggling murderers sharing the AZ roads with you and your family! Thanks, Mary Peters.
But none of this should surprise anyone. After all, Mary Peters was put up by John McCain to be Transportation Secretary. During her nomination to the Senate Commerce Committee on Sept 20, 2006, not a word was said about any prospective Mexican truck program to be launched imminently. Nor was the Mexican truck pilot test mentioned by Peters in her Senate confirmation hearings later that month.

How dumb do John McCain and Mary Peters think we really are? How many more Mexican trucks have to explode before they protect our border? How many more explosives, terrorists, drug smugglers, human smugglers and illegal aliens are hiding inside those trucks?
This is the biggest story of the year, why won’t the paper cover this and the connection to Mary Peters’ opening of Arizona’s borders to dangerous Mexican trucks? Because the paper loves light-rail, and Mary Peters is going to give them money for it. They love her for governor too, she’s pro- light rail and pro-open borders. If she’s in charge and the exploding Mexican trucks rule the roads, I may have to take my children to school on light rail (not sure if the line will run between our apartment and the elementary school, but I am sure Mary Peters will fix that too…!)

Anonymous said...

Oh populists!!!!!

Good lord...Free trade, mobilization of markets and labor across borders, and the efficiency (not protectionism) that these trucks bring in the process of free trade is EXACTLY what the GOP USED to stand for.

What's up with you isolationist, labor backing GOP types? Is anything attached to Mexico so damned dirty to you?

You going to ground planes from Mexico next?

Anonymous said...

By the way, John McCain has done more for the state of Arizona than about any elected leader in the last 20 years. Ya'll should be bowing to him.

Anonymous said...

So become a Republican and vote for him February 5th.

Dan said...

Being a driver myself, I can cite many personal reasons for disliking even the idea of allowing these trucks entry. However personal feelings aside, I think the safety issues are paramount.
We as an industry are strictly regulated; as I am sure has been well documented. What assurances do we have that any hispanics driving will obey those regulations? the D.O.T. of this country requires frequent inspections and maintenance,inspections that often require costly repair. Will these operators be held to the same standards?
While many signs mean the same in any language, some emergency signs, construction and routing signs in this country require the understanding of the Engligh language. Working in Phoenix, and driving through New Mexico and Texas, I can attest that not all Mexican drivers speak or understand the language. Does that not jeopardize the safety of our highways?
I, like many other drivers take pride in our safety and efficiency records. with that being said, the interstates are still very dangerous pieces of Real estate to do business on. there are few if any drivers at all who have not witnessed the devastation that big trucks are capable of. Sadly, the most common thread of most incidents involving trucks is disregard of the high starndards in place. I can only surmise that the influx of lower paid, substandard vehicles will greatly increase the hazard.