Public Citizen: Senate Vote to Halt Dangerous NAFTA Trucks Pilot Program Puts Brakes on Bush Administration’s Latest Threat to Highway Safety

September 13, 2007
12:20 PM

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Senate Vote to Halt Dangerous NAFTA Trucks Pilot Program
Puts Brakes on Bush Administrationís Latest Threat to Highway Safety
Statement of Robert Shull, Deputy Director for Auto Safety and Regulatory Policy at Public Citizen

WASHINGTON - September 13 - The Senateís sound rejection Tuesday night of the Bush administrationís dangerous North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trucks ďdemonstration projectĒ sent a clear signal that public safety is a priority on Capitol Hill.

Congress has made itself clear: The Bush administration must put the brakes on the NAFTA trucks project. The Senateís 74-24 approval of an amendment to the Department of Transportation appropriations bill would cut off funding for the pilot program. Tuesday nightís vote follows the House of Representativesí passage of a similar measure by a wide margin earlier this summer.

Under the pilot program, the White House planned to make everyone on the roads guinea pigs in a high-stakes experiment with the safety hazards predicted to result from permitting all Mexico-domiciled trucks to travel on all U.S. roadways. Currently, such trucks are constrained to a limited border zone.

Congress repeatedly has spelled out for the administration the basic criteria that must be met before Mexico-based carriers may travel on U.S. roads beyond the border areas Ė in a pilot program or otherwise. The administration has repeatedly ignored lawmakers. By shutting down the Bush administrationís dangerous NAFTA trucks program, Congress has put an end to the administrationís willful disregard of the law.

The Bush administration wanted to sacrifice public safety on the altar of the failed NAFTA trade model. The votes of both the Senate and House clearly signal that safety must come first.

Itís time for the Bush administration to stop trading away the publicís safety and put an end to this farce of repeatedly steamrolling Congressí demands regarding highway safety.