Congress Votes to Block Mexican Trucks From U.S. Highways

The fight to keep Mexican trucks off of U.S. highways was boosted with Congress voting to further tighten restrictions on the Bush administration's pilot program, effectively delaying the project.

Additional restrictions on Mexican trucks traveling into the United States beyond the commercial zones, originally part of a House bill sponsored by Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., were added to the War Supplemental Appropriations bill. The funding bill passed the House by a vote of 280-142 and the Senate by a vote of 80-14.

The bill requires the Transportation Department's inspector general to make sure the department is able to impose U.S. safety rules and conditions on Mexican trucks that travel beyond the commercial zone.

The inspector general must also report to Congress whether the pilot program is hurting highway safety and whether safety laws are being enforced.

The bill requires the Transportation Department to tell the public exactly how it will make sure the pilot program is safe and that all drivers are able to speak English, as required by law. Transportation officials must also reveal how they plan to ensure Mexican truck drivers only pick up and deliver goods between the two nations, and not between two points inside the United States.

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