U.S. Transportation Secretary Peters Says Cross Border Trucking is Essential for Colorado’s Booming Agricultural Exports
June 20, 2008
Efforts in Washington to end a program that permits U.S. truckers to deliver goods directly into Mexico would hurt Colorado’s farmers and ranchers, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters said today during a visit to a meat packing plant in Denver.
Secretary Peters said a new federal trucking demonstration project to allow U.S. companies and U.S. drivers to make deliveries in Mexico for the first time ever is making it easier and less costly for states like Colorado to export goods to the country’s third largest trading partner. However, she warned that efforts by some groups to deny U.S. truckers access to Mexico would delay deliveries of agricultural products and needlessly raise the cost of shipments.
“We should be looking for every opportunity to open new markets for our drivers, to find new buyers for our products and encourage new consumers for our produce,” said Secretary Peters. “People may pay a premium for 18-day dry aged steaks, but no one is going to pay a premium for steaks aged on an 18 wheeler.”
Secretary Peters noted that Colorado alone exports over $356 million a year worth of products to Mexico, including meat, soy, wheat, onions and beans. She added that a broad coalition of organizations representing many of the nation’s manufacturers, growers and ranchers, including the Denver-based Colorado Farm Bureau, support the Department’s Cross-Border Trucking Demonstration Project and are calling on Congress to allow it to continue.
“Our drivers and our workers don’t deserve a timeout from hope, success and prosperity,” the Secretary said. “This is no time to let the politics of pessimism dim the promise of prosperity for hundreds of thousands of American drivers, growers and ranchers.”
Secretary Peters also said that safety is the Department’s number one priority and that a rigorous safety inspection plan and trained professionals are in place ensuring that every truck crossing the U.S. border as part of this project meets every U.S. safety standard.