Truck Drivers Respond to President's Proposal
New tonight at ten, the White House is looking to change regulations that have prevented Mexican truck drivers from traveling across the United States. It is a proposal that would affect drivers all along the U.S.-Mexico border. Our Ryan Bailey spoke to truck drivers here in Laredo about how this would impact their business.
The Obama administration is proposing to open up the United States roadways to Mexican semi trucks. Currently trucks are not allowed to travel more than 25 miles into the U.S. when they are hauling commercial freight. This has left some of our country's truck drivers a little confused.
"We're already in a recession. We need the work. Why would you give it to someone else when we can't even take care of our own selves."
One of the biggest concerns for U.S. drivers is this may take loads away from them and leave them looking for jobs."
"I depend on Mexican products going up so it would really hurt me."
"Why would you take our jobs away from us when we're providing you with a service and give it to someone else who doesn't pay our taxes, who doesn't support our government or our country."
Some drivers estimate that as much as 85 percent of their jobs come from loads making their way north through Mexico and while some of those jobs would go away that may not be the biggest issue stemming from this proposal.
"Here we have a lot of federal regulations that we need to follow and if they want to be on the road, if we have to follow them, they need to abide by them too."
"When you have someone coming over who's running with no break pads or bald tires, that's not safe for them and it's not safe for you."
In 2007 President Bush began a pilot program allowing Mexican trucks limited freedom on U.S. highways, but the program ended in March of 2009 after Congress failed to renew it. Mexico claims this goes against the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. Still truckers see this as a one sided deal because the likely hood of them traveling into Mexico is slim.
"Especially right now. With violence and stuff down there, I wouldn't dare to go across."
"With the cartel situation right now, that's probably the biggest thing. You couldn't pay me enough to go over there."
Ryan Bailey, Laredo's pro 8 news.
After Congress refused to continue the pilot program, Mexico placed higher taxes on 89 products that were being exported from the U.S. to Mexico and have continued to add products to that list. Because of that, many agricultural and manufacturing officials have welcomed President Obama's proposal.