Bush asks court to help with Mexican truck delay

WASHINGTON, (Sept. 12, 2003) — The Bush administration has asked for the Supreme Court’s help in a fight over allowing Mexican trucks and buses on U.S. roadways for the first time in two decades.

The administration wants to drop a court-ordered environmental study that has delayed the border opening. The court ruled earlier this year that the government must perform a lengthy environmental impact study — which is not expected to be completed until after next year — after labour, safety, and environmental groups sued the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The government has said it will comply with that order, but also filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Bush ordered U.S. highways open to Mexican trucks last fall, despite long-standing opposition from special interest groups. His administration says the court of appeals misapplied the nation’s environmental laws, and the ruling needlessly prolongs a trade dispute with Mexico.

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

— with files from AP

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