The Governor of California, Pete Wilson, and a Texas Senator who is running for re-election, Phil Gramm, are both calling for a change in the U.S. position on Mexican trucks entering and traveling in the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In a letter to President Bill Clinton, Governor Wilson requested permission to allow Mexican trucks, properly inspected, to enter and travel in California as a pilot project. Governor Wilson also plans to request the same permission from Mexico for California trucks. Mexican trucks were to have been allowed to enter the United States and travel freely under the NAFTA on July 18, 1995. U.S. trucks were to be granted the same freedom. Implementation of the provision has been delayed by the United States because of concern over the safety of Mexican trucks. (See Transportation story, September issue).

At issue is transportation efficiency, since currently Mexican trucks must cross the border, unload and return to Mexico. Their loads are then picked up by California trucks and taken to their destination. The Governor’s proposal would include registering the Mexican trucks with the U.S. Department of Transportation for operation in the State of California only.

Texas Senator Phil Gramm stated in early October that the U.S. should relax minor standards for Mexican truckers and lift restrictions that have prevented the implementation of the harmonized trucking regulations between the two countries. Texas Governor George Bush joined the call to end the delay, stating that state troopers are able to enforce U.S. safety regulations.

In other news, Grupo Mexico, one of three proposers to submit a bid for the Chihuahua Pacifico railroad concession was the only company that complied with all the requirements of the bid, according to news in Diario de Juarez. The other two bidders, Tribasa and Transportacion Ferroviaria Mexicana withdrew from the process after “abstaining” from submitting the required technical and economic portions of the bid, making Grupo Mexico the virtual concession winner. The final decision will be made by the Intersecretariat Commission for Disincorporation (Comision Intersecretarial de Desincorporacion) based upon evaluations of the bids by the Transportation Secretariat (Secretariat de Communicaciones y Transportes, SCT) and the National Railway Agency (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Mexico, FNM).

Sources: Diario de Juarez, El Norte, El Paso Times

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