Final Clearance Allows Mexican Trucks to Roll In

Teamsters' protests Thursday in a few cities, including Laredo, Texas, and San Diego, Calif., did not stop the final go-ahead for a year-long "demonstration project" by DOT that allows 17 Mexican trucking companies full access to U.S. roads. Eventually, 100 Mexican companies will be admitted; their trucks have been restricted to a small U.S. zone up to now. Web sites of newspapers located in several U.S. cities with international bridges to Mexico indicated the first trucks had not entered by 8 a.m. Friday.

The program started with Stagecoach Cartage and Distribution from El Paso receiving approval Thursday to operate in Mexico and Transportes Olympic of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, receiving approval to operate in the United States. The final OK came when DOT's Inspector General released a report mandated by Congress that said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had taken the steps needed to ensure program can proceed safely.

"This long-awaited project will protect public safety on American highways as we work to both save consumers money and help our economy," said FMCSA Administrator John H. Hill. FMCSA plans to check every truck that crosses the border as part of the demonstration. "Every company, vehicle and driver is subject to a significant and rigorous safety inspection prior to being admitted to the demonstration project," DOT said in a news release Thursday.

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