Mexican truck pilot continues despite funding cut

WASHINGTON — It doesn’t look like the pilot project allowing Mexican trucks deep into U.S. territory will be around for much longer.

Still, even though a bill to cut funding for the controversial program was signed by President George W. Bush recently, the DOT hasn’t made many moves to halt it yet.

A $555 billion omnibus appropriations spending bill, which signed into law last week, contained a provision that cuts funding from the cross-border program. “None of the funds made available under this Act may be used to establish a cross-border motor carrier demonstration program to allow Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate beyond the commercial zones along the international border between the United States and Mexico,” the bill states.

However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says the program will continue because the bill’s language refers to funds “to establish” a program, and doesn’t apply to the program already underway.

The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association, a longtime opponent of the Mexican truck pilot, reacted angrily to the FMCSA’s decision to press on.

“Apparently, this rogue administration wants to play word games and intends to thumb its nose at the clear Congressional intent behind the unambiguous legislation,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

While FMCSA is keeping the program in place, it still faces court challenges by OOIDA and other groups.

In OOIDA’s official publication, Land Line, Spencer said is group would likely push forward its impending lawsuit to stop the program if FMCSA doesn’t cancel it soon.

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