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Washington, DC – The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved an amendment offered by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would prevent Mexican trucking companies from gaining unrestricted access to U.S. highways until American truckers are afforded the same access in Mexico.

The amendment prohibits the use of funds to allow Mexican trucks beyond the 20- to 25-mile commercial zone on the U.S.-Mexico border until U.S. trucks are given comparable access to Mexico.  It was included as part of the Emergency Spending bill, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee today.

“It is simply unfair to American truckers to restrict their access to Mexico while Mexican drivers are given unrestricted access to U.S. highways on a faster timetable,” Senator Feinstein said. “This amendment will prevent that from happening.”

The amendment was co-sponsored by Senators Feinstein, Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

The prohibition on increased access for Mexican trucks would be lifted when American trucks are given equal access on a similar timetable to Mexican highways.

At issue: A one-year pilot program, announced February 23 by the U.S. Department of Transportation, to allow 100 Mexican trucking companies unrestricted access to U.S. highways. American trucks would not be granted full access to Mexican highways for approximately six months, while the Mexican government gathers information and determines which American companies will be granted access to Mexico.

“This is a serious flaw,” Senator Feinstein said.  “Today more than 75 percent of the commercial goods flowing between the United States, Mexico and Canada are carried by trucks. It is a vitally important part of our commercial trade – but any agreement to expand this international trade is deeply flawed if one nation is favored over another.”

“The amendment accepted today will eliminate a glaring imbalance in cross-border trade.”