U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters recently announced that U.S. trucks will begin operating in Mexico, while Mexican trucks will begin operating north of the commercial border zone in the U.S. at the same time. The program was set to start as early as April, though the Mexican government released a statement Tuesday saying it wants the program to begin July 15, and full implementation of NAFTA's cross-border trucking provisions to start within one year. The Mexican government is reviewing applications from American companies to enter its country, according to news reports. On Wednesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved a bill that if approved would make major changes to the program. The legislation would allow a maximum of 1,000 Mexican trucks and passenger buses to have access to U.S. roads for up to three years. This could delay the border crossings even longer. Mexican trucks haven't been allowed to operate in this country since 1982, when Mexico forbade U.S. motor carriers from traveling south of the border. The Department of Transportation has invested $500 million since 1995 to modernize border safety facilities and hire and train the more than 500 federal and state inspectors who inspect trucks crossing the border every day. Mexican truck companies that are allowed to participate must have insurance with a U.S.-licensed firm and meet all U.S. safety standards. For more information, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov.
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