WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa urged the Senate to block funding for the Bush administration's illegal Mexican truck program.
Hoffa said the program threatens highway safety and national security. The danger posed by trucks from Mexico was made clear by the truck explosion that killed at least 34 people and injured 150 in Northern Mexico on Sunday.
A vote to block funding for the pilot program is expected to occur in the Senate on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 11 .
"Today is the sixth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil," Hoffa said. "I don't see how any patriotic American could vote to allow these dangerous trucks to cross our borders and travel freely throughout our country."
"We don't know who's driving these trucks and we don't know what they're carrying," Hoffa said. "Weapons that could be used in a terrorist attack might be in the backs of these trucks."
According to news reports, the first Mexican truck allowed beyond the safety zone crossed the border at Laredo at 12:51 a.m. Saturday. The truck traveled through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina to North Carolina, where it delivered a load of steel.
The Transportation Department's inspector general reported last week that five states said they aren't ready to enforce safety rules for the pilot project. Those five states are Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Rhode Island and Utah, while Maryland did not respond.
The inspector general also reported that seven states don't have procedures in place for enforcing restrictions on point-to-point deliveries within the United States , a practice known as cabotage. Those are the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia , Louisiana, New Mexico , Utah and Washington.
The Senate will vote on an amendment to the 2008 Transportation Appropriations bill offered by Sen. Byron Dorgan , D-N.D. The amendment will mirror language passed by the House that blocks funding for the program.
Editors: A new statement from the Teamsters Union will follow this afternoon's Senate vote. Please check our website, http://www.teamster.org for continuing updates.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States , Canada and Puerto Rico .
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters