SPECIAL REPORT: Cross-border program to be extended?

By Jami Jones, senior editor | 3/7/2008

Friday, March 7, 2008 – Hot on the heels of published reports that the cross-border trucking program with Mexico may be extended beyond its initial 12-month deadline, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters is expected to hold a press conference on the program Monday, March 10.

Copley News Service reported today that John Hill, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said the turnout for the program has been far less than anticipated. In fact, participation is so low, he hinted that the program may be extended past its initial 12-month deadline.

Hill speculated to Copley that participation in the program may be depressed because of opposition in Congress and resistance to the program by U.S. truckers and special interest groups.

A rumored press conference set for Monday was confirmed by FMCSA spokeswoman Melissa Delaney.

Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters “will join with representatives of business and agricultural associations to help unveil new data regarding the potential economic impact of stopping the cross border trucking demonstration program between the United States and Mexico,” according to a media advisory obtained by Land Line.

Meanwhile, the DOT and the industry alike are waiting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to rule on lawsuits challenging the legality of the cross-border program. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed suit shortly after the program began Sept. 6, 2007.

Oral arguments in the case – along with arguments in separate suits filed against the program by the Sierra Club and the Teamsters – were heard on Feb. 12. The cases are on an expedited schedule and a ruling is expected in the near future.

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