The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Teamsters Union, Public Citizen and others against the U.S. Department of Transportation’s cross-border trucking pilot program, declaring it moot because Congress recently ended the program.
The lawsuit was still pending after Congress eliminated the program through an omnibus spending bill in March. OOIDA was alone in pressing the court for a ruling, declaring contends the program had extended “illegal, de facto exemptions” to safety laws in allowing Mexican trucking companies to operate on U.S. highways.
“Our hope had been the court would still rule on the merits of arguments and evidence showing the pilot program was in direct violation of U.S. laws and regulations,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.
The three-judge panel ruled that even if Congress were to consider a similar program, “any new pilot program the (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) might initiate in the future would likely present different questions of statutory and regulatory requirements than the now terminated program.”
Mexico retaliated against cancellation of the program by imposing tariffs on U.S. exports affecting $2.4 billion worth of goods. In talks with Mexican President Felipe Calderón April 16, President Obama said he was hopeful the tariff issue could be resolved but no progress was made on re-establishing a cross-border trucking program.