Wednesday, March 16, 2011

US taxpayers to pay for Mexican truck EOBRs...

...Unless we can stop them.

We've been so busy with the war on workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida (you get the picture) that we haven't been writing about another front in the war: Mexico. Mexico is engulfed in a narco-war that killed 35,000 people since Felipe Calderon stole the election for president in 2006.

The war on workers, though, has to do with the U.S. Department of Transportation's plan to open the border to dangerous Mexican trucks in yet another pilot program. If the plan goes forward, Mexican trucks could be rolling across the border this summer. This is a very, very bad idea:
  • It will put American motorists at risk of accidents from these dangerous Mexican vehicles.
  • It will make transport and distribution of drugs into the U.S. much easier and create an even greater problem for the Drug Enforcement Agency.
  • It will lower wages in the U.S. and cost jobs in the trucking and warehousing industry.
  • There will be no benefit to U.S. trucking companies nor any U.S. jobs created by cargo moving south to Mexico because it's too dangerous to risk sending valuable cargo down there.
  • American taxpayers have to pay for the program.
Yes, American taxpayers will be paying for the privilege of letting Mexican trucking companies take American jobs. That's because DOT is proposing that electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) be installed on Mexican trucks so U.S. authorities can keep track of them. Anne Ferro, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration administrator, said on Tuesday that the EOBR program will cost U.S. taxpayers $500,000-$700,000, according to TruckingInfo.

DOT is also claiming that it will inspect every truck every time it crosses the border. Border officials couldn't manage to "check" (look at a decal on a windshield) every truck every time it crossed the border during the failed pilot program that ran from 2007-09.  So we're assuming more U.S. taxpayer-funded staff will be needed at the border to actually inspect the trucks. (Don't we have a budget deficit?)

Oh, and U.S. taxpayer-funded staff will be needed to inspect the Mexican trucking companies' trucks, safety records and drivers' command of English. We're assuming U.S. DOT officials will have to travel to Mexico, unarmed, at taxpayers' expense, to make sure Mexican trucks are safe enough to travel on our highways. Um, shouldn't the Mexican government be doing that, instead of forcing American government workers to risk their lives so Mexican trucking companies can take our jobs?

As one outraged trucker posted at truckdriversnews,
It is an absolute slap in the face to American truck drivers that they will have to give up some of their freight lanes to these Mexican trucks, not only are American truck drivers losing the pay from these freight lanes, but they will be paying for the EOBRs on the Mexican trucks too...  In NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM should we (Americans) PAY FOR ANYTHING for this “deal.”
We couldn't agree more with that sentiment.