More Mexican trucks rolling onto California roads

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mexicantruckThe United States, Mexico and Canada negotiated the groundbreaking hemispheric trade agreement known as NAFTA 20 years ago. Now, a controversial and long-delayed part of that pact looks like it’s finally ready to be enacted – and it will have an impact on California drivers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation – will soon make a formal statement inviting Mexican trucking companies to apply for permits allowing them to make direct deliveries from Mexico to U.S. destinations. Border crossings between San Diego and Tijuana and Calexico and Mexicali are expected to be busy routes for the new commercial traffic.

The Department of Transportation decision follows a three-year pilot program that the government says showed Mexican trucks were just as safe as U.S. trucks.

The U.S. has been hit with $2 billion in annual tariffs for failing to open its roads to Mexican truckers. That’s a big motivation for ending the ban. Supporters also say allowing those drivers and their rigs into the U.S. is positive step in promoting trade between the two countries.

Critics, most notably the Teamsters, worry about safety issues and how competition from Mexican truckers could affect the job security of U.S. drivers.