by Victor Lopez
NAFTA and La Entrada Al Pacifico gave the green light for Mexican trucks to travel West Texas roads. If Congress gets it's way, the few that have been allowed to come into the country, won't be anymore.
You might not even know they're there, but you definitely have an opinion on them.
"I don't feel safe with trucks that don't have to be maintained as well as mine does, traveling the same highways as I do. They don't drive as safely as we do," Trucker Marty Scott, said.
But not everyone is taking the same side of the issue. To some, like 30-year-veteran Jesus, it's a matter of neighbor helping neighbor, "We are big in the U.S., but we still lack truckers. They have experience also, just as much as we do, and we need that extra help."
James Beauchamp, President of the Midland-Odessa Transportation Alliance, Inc. (MOTRAN) says cutting funds to this pilot program, isn't such a big deal, "It was so small and it was so limited in it's scope. The market already made those determinations and figured out ways to make it work. That's why we've been successful."
Right now, freight trucks from the U.S. and Mexico meet at the border and trade loads. But letting them come all the way into the Country to deliver isn't sitting well with some independent truckers, like Tom Schnickles. "It's not that bad of a deal. It's when they bring in the freight and bring it into the U.S. and take our jobs away from us, that's what I've got a problem with."
Whether it's concern over safety on the roadways, keeping or losing jobs, or border security, Beauchamp says, "We always have to be cogniscent and keep those fears in mind and make sure we do everything we can to ensure security, but at the same time, not doing so in a way that prohibits trade and commerce."
For the 7th straight year, Texas ranks number 1 when it comes to in exporting goods out of the U.S. more than $170 million worth a year, comes out of the Permian Basin alone.