Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), roads in the United States, Mexico and Canada were to be open to truckers from all three countries by 2000. While this has not been an issue for Canada, in 1995 President Clinton denied Mexican trucks access to U.S. highways due to safety concerns. In 2001, Congress fought President Bush’s attempt to open the border to Mexican trucks. Recently, however, the Bush administration announced a pilot program that would allow Mexican trucks to make deliveries in the United States beyond the 25-mile border transfer zone.
The U.S. Department of Transportation proposal would allow trucks from 100 Mexican companies to make deliveries anywhere in the United States. Under the pilot program, the trucks would not be allowed to carry hazardous materials and would have to comply with all U.S. safety, environmental, insurance and homeland security regulations.
After the completion of this one-year pilot program, both the United States and Mexico could fully open their markets to cross-border truck traffic. The pilot program has been opposed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which seeks to delay implementation of the pilot program until all of its highway safety questions are answered. The pilot program will also be scrutinized in a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.