High court gives green light to Mexican truckers

High court gives green light to Mexican truckers

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the last barricade to Mexican trucks operating on U.S. highways.

In a unanimous decision handed down Monday, the court said that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was not obligated to assess the environmental effect of allowing the trucks into the U.S.

Environmental groups and the Teamsters had sought to block Mexican carriers since President Bush ordered the border open in November 2002. Open market access for motor carriers had been one of the terms negotiated under the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1992, but the U.S. had restricted Mexican operators to zones within a few miles of the border.

Monday's ruling overturns a decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that ordered the government to conduct an environmental study.

President Bush called the decision "good for American workers," but gave no date for full access to Mexican motor carriers.

Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said, "Truly opening the market between Mexico and the United States for trucks and buses means more opportunities for American companies, more jobs for American drivers and better deals for American consumers."

-- R.G. Edmonson