Last year around this time, by signing an omnibus appropriations bill, President Obama killed a program to foster cross-border trucking between the United States and Mexico. This program, championed by President George W. Bush, allowed 100 Mexican trucks to operate outside a certain area in the United States and also allowed 100 American trucks to do the same in Mexico. At the moment, there are no plans to provide funding to the Department of Transportation to resurrect the program, but it doesn’t mean some folk aren’t complaining about that lack of funding.
Part of the reason this program was opposed is due to concerns over safety, as evidenced in this March 2009 quote by Congressman James Oberstar (D, MN):
Safety concerns continue to drive my opposition to this program… Mexican law does not require many fundamental elements of highway safety that are required for U.S. drivers….
Well, as this article from the March 3, 2010 edition of the Loudoun Independent asserts, it’s not as if the trucks on this side of the border are paragons of safety. According to the article, in 2009, of the 1,907 different trucks inspected by the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office Motor Carrier Inspection Team, a grand total of 969 (there’s your number for the day) failed.
That’s half of all trucks inspected failed. And that’s just one county.
So, Rep Oberstar, before you start griping about the poor stick shift of your neighbor, you should fix your own motor block (and yes, that is quite the tortured reference to Luke 6:42).
Or, could it be that Representative Oberstar’s real reason for being opposed to the cross-border trucking program is not his dedication to safety, but is instead, according to opensecrets.org, due to the fact that during the 2009-2010 election cycle Oberstar received, from indiviuals and political action committees (PACs), $68,000 from transportation unions and $15,500 from trucking – – both groups who have a vested interest in keeping Mexican trucks off American roads.