Voice of America
December 5, 2001
The U.S. Senate has passed a sweeping $60 billion transportation bill that includes compromise legislation allowing Mexican trucks wider access to U.S. highways. The House passed the same bill last Friday, and the measure now goes to President Bush for his expected signature.
Mr. Bush earlier this year had threatened to veto the transportation bill after the House and Senate each passed separate legislation that did not meet conditions sought by the administration.
The House passed a bill in June that would have banned Mexican trucks from full access to U.S. roads because of safety concerns. In August, the Senate voted to allow the trucks in, but only after they met specific standards.
Mr. Bush was concerned the two versions of the legislation violated the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement. Under the pact, trucking within reasonable safety restrictions is allowed across the borders of the United States, Mexico and Canada, the countries joined in the free trade zone.
The administration and lawmakers reached a compromise plan last month allowing Mexican trucks full access to U.S. highways but under tougher safety inspection requirements than Mr. Bush initially sought.
The overall transportation bill also includes $1.25 billion to upgrade aviation security in the aftermath of the September 11 hijack attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.