Supreme Court Says Mexican Trucks Can Drive U.S. Roads

Supreme Court Says Mexican Trucks Can Drive U.S. Roads

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

The Supreme Court cleared the last hurdle to the entry of Mexican trucks into the United States.

In a unanimous vote June 7, the court ruled against environmental and labor groups that had sought to stop the Bush administration s plan to allow Mexican trucks to operate on U.S. roadways under provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The White House praised the vote as good for American workers but gave no date for when the trucks could start crossing the border.

President Bush ordered the border open to Mexican trucks in 2002, two years after the trucks were to have been allowed under NAFTA. Environmental and labor groups, including the Teamsters union, challenged the action and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the government had to do an environmental study.

That study has been going on but it was unclear whether the administration would complete a report on the environmental or immediately open the roads to Mexican trucks as allowed by the court.

The ruling hinged on a procedural question of whether the White House could act or whether the truck issue was a safety matter that was under the jurisdiction of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In an opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the court said the agency "has no discretion to prevent the entry of Mexican trucks."