Mexican rigs gain U.S. access

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S.-Mexican relations took a turn for the better on Wednesday as the U.S. finally agreed to grant access to trucks from their southern neighbor.

Congress and President George Bush had been at loggerheads over the issue since a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) order to open the border or face sanctions. Bush agreed, but ran into an uncooperative House.

Now that Congress has finally relented, after stressing concerns over safety the $60 billion U.S. transportation spending bill, which has been held up for two months as part of the fight, will also be passed by the White House.

The Senate had tried to impose extra safety requirement on Mexican equipment entering America, and while it was slightly watered down, there are still a few wrinkles for carriers.

For example, 50 per cent of all fleets and half of all freight will be subjected to on-site inspections before leaving Mexican soil; the Senate wanted 100 per cent. As well, electronic verification of proper licensing will be required of all truckers carrying ‘high-risk’ cargo and for a minimum of 50 per cent of the remaining driver population.

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