It's Labor Day Weekend, so Fuck you all!!  

No, really, that's what this administration is saying.

This was crossposted in Dailykos earlier today:

I blogged this on Wednesday, but I feel like we need to discuss it a bit more.

And what better way to open this subject than with a Bush Admin slap in the face to all of us.

“What a slap in the face to American workers, opening the highways to dangerous trucks on Labor Day weekend, one of the busiest driving weekends of the year,” said Teamsters President Jim Hoffa in announcing the legal action.

The Sierra Club, Teamsters and Public Citizen are in court fighting to keep our roads safe. I sure wish Congress were in session. Oh wait, that probably has something to do with the timing on this, doesn't it?

The administration refuses to require that Mexican trucks meet minimum standards. Standards that have prevented Mexican trucks from being on our roads to this day. Bloomberg even has a story on this.

The U.S. and Mexican pilot programs would test cross-border trucking that was supposed to take effect in 1995 under the North American Free Trade Agreement. In 1995, then- President Bill Clinton decided to block Mexican trucks from carrying cargo beyond a border commercial zone of about 25 miles (42 kilometers) because of concern that unsafe Mexican trucks would become a hazard on U.S. highways.

Last February, U.S. and Mexican transportation officials reached an agreement to allow U.S. Department of Transportation inspectors to certify the trucks of as many as 100 Mexican companies and allow them to deliver cargo to U.S. cities in a one-year test program. The trucks can pick up cargo at a U.S. city and haul it to Mexico, but can't deliver goods from one U.S. city to another.

(emphasis mine)

The main issue here is still the same one that has stopped these trucks from being on the road in the first place, the one that Clinton noted oh so many years ago. The issue comes down to SAFETY. Again, from Bloomberg
The organizations are seeking an emergency stay until they get more assurance that the vehicles comply with U.S. environmental, security and safety regulations, Sierra Club spokesman Josh Dorner said yesterday.

The biggest problem with this pilot is that the pilot program isn't going to be statistically significant. We all know the administrations penchant for using numbers in dubious ways, can you tell me this isn't going to be the case this time around? From From the Trucker:

The points of contention, as specified in the motion, are that the FMCSA [Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration] has failed to comply with an amendment attached to this summer's Iraq war appropriations package by not demonstrating the statistical validity necessary for a pilot program; that the pilot program is being initiated without publishing information regarding the inspections of the Mexico-based carriers; and that the reciprocal rights for U.S. carriers have not been demonstrated.

The request concludes that, after years of delays for the plan, waiting awhile longer shouldn’t be a problem.

“At least as early as May 2001, DOT has been predicting the various dates for starting cross-border trucking,” the motion noted, citing anticipated dates in that year, as well as midyear 2002 and this February’s announcement that included a target of about 60 days. “There is no harm from delaying the program for a short time to make sure it is done right in compliance with the requirements Congress imposed.”

Yes, I realize that the Mexican trucks won't carry hazardous materials and will not be hauling large "objects" (meaning what exactly?) but I'm seriously not interested in what they carry (okay, the hazard waste, I really care about, but I digress) I'm interested in knowing how much rest they get, how much pollution the trucks spew out, what kind of drug testing is carried out, if they meet the same standards of Canadian and US trucks and truck drivers with mandatory rest periods. I don't want to worry about driving the PA turnpike from Ohio to DC and hope that the trucker driving next to me has had enough rest. I want to know that the truck drivers I meet in Kingsville, Ohio, are getting rest for more than the time it takes to grab some coffee and a fill up. I want to know that Mexican trucks have to meet the same minimum standards that American drivers do, until then, they shouldn't be on our roads.

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