Edwards Statement On Bush's Open Highways Initiative
Senator John Edwards
September 3, 2007
Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Senator John Edwards today criticized the Bush administration's open-highways initiative that would allow Mexican trucks to travel freely within the United States. The initiative is expected to go into effect this week, unless it is blocked on Wednesday by the Department of Transportation's Inspector General.
Edwards released the following statement:
"Our trade policies should put workers and families first. Opening America's highways to Mexico's long-haul diesel trucks puts American jobs and safety at risk. The Department of Transportation has the power to block the program. I urge them to use it.
"Multinational corporations and their Washington lobbyists greased the way to extend NAFTA onto American highways and streets, without regard for the impact on the environment or on the safety of America's workers and families. Last month, an audit found that the database used to monitor Mexican drivers with license convictions - known as the '52nd State System' - has failed to record thousands of convictions. Mexican diesel trucks will not be required to meet the stricter emissions standards of states like California."
Under the NAFTA-related open-highways initiative, two Mexican trucking companies are initially expected to participate, with 22 more Mexican trucking companies rolling on American roads within a month. Congress passed a law in May requiring that the Bush administration certify that safety and other reporting systems have been implemented before the borders are opened under the new initiative.
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