Legislation submitted shortly after the formalization of a new U.S.-Mexico cross-border trucking program on Wednesday, July 6, would specifically prevent the use of U.S. funds to pay for electronic onboard recorders on Mexican trucks. U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, says the U.S. Department of Transportation’s EOBR measure is an inappropriate use of U.S. funds.
“As we debate deep and harsh cuts to programs that help middle-class families, it is outrageous that taxpayers are being told to foot the bill for the Mexican trucking industry to comply with American safety standards,” DeFazio said of the Protecting America’s Roads Act. “Let the Mexican government or the Mexican carriers pay for their equipment, and let’s use U.S. gas tax revenue for its intended purpose of putting Americans to work rebuilding our roads and bridges.”
Under the pilot program, Mexican trucks will be required to comply with all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and must have EOBRs to track hours-of-service compliance. In addition, DOT will review the complete driving record of each driver and require all drug testing samples to be analyzed in Department of Health and Human Services-certified laboratories located in the United States.
DOT also will require Mexican drivers to undergo an assessment of their ability to understand the English language and U.S. traffic signs. The new agreement also ensures that Mexico will provide reciprocal authority for U.S. carriers to engage in cross-border long-haul operations into that country.
The new program paves the way for Mexico to lift tariffs it imposed more than two years ago. Pursuant to an agreement signed by the U.S. Trade Representative and the Secretaría de Economía of the United Mexican States, Mexico soon will lift retaliatory tariffs on more than $2 billion in U.S. manufactured goods and agricultural products, providing opportunities to increase U.S. exports to Mexico and expanding job creation in the United States.
The agreement also provides that Mexico will suspend 50 percent of the retaliatory tariffs within 10 days. Mexico will suspend the remainder of the tariffs within five days of the first Mexican trucking company receiving its U.S. operating authority. As a result, Mexican tariffs that now range from 5 to 25 percent on an array of U.S. agricultural and industrial products such as apples, certain pork products and personal care products would be immediately cut in half and will disappear entirely within a few months.