Supreme Court to hear Mexican truck issue

| Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The Supreme Court agreed Dec. 15 to intervene in a 20-year-old fight over allowing Mexican trucks and buses on U.S. roadways, The Associated Press reported.

The court will hear an appeal from the Bush administration, which wants to open the border to Mexican trucks without a court-ordered environmental study.

The $1.8 million study is expected to take a year or more, further delaying the border opening President Bush ordered last fall over long-standing opposition from U.S. labor, consumer and environmental organizations.

The consumer group Public Citizen, the Teamsters and others sued on safety and environmental grounds, and a federal appeals court ruled earlier this year that the government must perform the lengthy study.

The Bush administration has said it will comply with that order, but also appealed to the Supreme Court in September.

Since 1982, trucks from Mexico have been allowed only in 20-mile commercial border zones, where Mexican rigs must transfer their cargo to U.S. trucks for deliveries within the United States.

Mexican trucks make approximately 4.5 million border crossings every year, and it is cumbersome and expensive to offload cargo to U.S. trucks, the administration appeal said.

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