Mexican trucks seeking US access face obstacles

By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN | July 7, 2011 | 5:14 PM EDT

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — U.S. Department of Transportation officials say it will be at least two months before any Mexican truckers pass safety, English and national security checks and win approval to cruise middle America's highways under a long-awaited cross-border trucking agreement between the two countries.

And that's without any interference from members of Congress, some of whom decried the program's economic and security risks and introduced legislation to limit it.

The strong reaction from supporters and opponents suggests the contested provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement remains controversial even though Mexican trucks have operated in trade zones near the border for years.

A limited number took part in a two-year demonstration program that gave them access to the U.S. interior.