Friday, March 23, 2007 - An amendment accepted by the Senate Appropriations Committee is taking aim at delaying free access to the United States for 100 Mexican-domiciled motor carriers in the recently announced pilot program.
The program - which is set to kick off in May - will grant authority to 100 Mexican motor carriers with an unlimited number of trucks to operate freely within the United States.
The amendment proposed to delay the program, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, was submitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee after it was cleared with Sen. Christopher Bond, R-MO.
The amendment would restrict spending any money on allowing Mexican motor carriers to operate beyond the border zone until three conditions are met. Those conditions are:
- Granting such authority must first be tested as part of a pilot program;
- The pilot program must comply with the requirements of Section 350 of the 2002 appropriations legislation and the requirements of Section 31315(c) of Title 49, United States Code, related to the pilot programs; and
- Simultaneous and comparable authority to operate within Mexico is made available to motor carriers domiciled in the United States.
Murray submitted the amendment to the committee and it was accepted on a voice vote - with no opposition.
The only discussion related to the amendment was brought up by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, one of the co-sponsors of the amendment. The amendment was also co-sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND.
Feinstein discussed the fairness - or lack thereof - of allowing Mexican-domiciled motor carriers to operate within the U.S., while the Mexican government isn't ready to allow U.S. motor carriers access to Mexico.
The amendment was attached to legislation that would provide funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and will be discussed by the full Senate next week.
- By Jami Jones, senior editor