Mexican Trucks Could Be Headed For American Highways - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/14/07-Tyler

Mexican Trucks Could Be Headed For American Highways

The 'big-rig,' an American staple on American highways.

But a new program could allow Mexican trucks to drive on those highways, which has some people worried.

"My concerns are just the safety aspects, the equipment, and mainly what they're capable of bringing over here," said Kirk Redline, a trucker from California.

Truckers could soon share the road with Mexican trucks, as part of a Bush administration plan to meet the guidelines of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Under the program, up to 100 Mexican trucking companies would be allowed to haul their cargo anywhere in the United States.

"If they can get the standards as safe, I wouldn't have a problem with it," said Robert Berry, a truck driver.  "They need to abide by our laws."

And some lawmakers agree.

The Senate voted to amend a $106 billion spending bill to block funding for the program.

President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, and supporters of the trucking plan say American safety is definitely a priority. 

In a statement he released earlier this week, United States Senator John Cornyn said his amendment, which was defeated in the Senate, would have "ensured that every single Mexican truck and operator entering the United States met every safety and identity requirement that [American] Trucks are required to meet." 

But for some, safety is not the only concern.

"If there's more traffic coming out of Mexico now than there has been in the past, then we're going to see an increase in traffic volumes on our highways," said Larry Krantz with the Texas Department of Transportation.

Krantz said more trucks on the highways could mean a financial crunch in the future. 

"More vehicles on the road means more damage over time and certainly the more damage that's incurred on the highways, the more money that it's going to cost to repair those highways," he said.

And more money and more trucks, could mean more potential problems.

Layron Livingston, Reporting llivingston@kltv.com

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