Small-business truckers and professional truck drivers, represented by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), are fuming about a move made today by the government. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is signing a cross-border trucking agreement with Mexico without providing the public or Congress with the final details of the agreement. Jim Johnston, President of OOIDA: The Association has adamantly opposed opening the border because Mexico has failed to institute regulations and enforcement programs that are even remotely similar to those in the United States and because there would be no relevant corresponding reciprocity for U.S. truckers. Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOID: Every year, U.S. truckers are burdened with new safety, security and environmental regulations. Those regulations come with considerable compliance costs. Mexico-domiciled trucking companies do not contend with a similar regulatory regime nor with the corresponding costs. Spencer added: As far as reciprocal access to the Mexican market, the Association knows that most truckers refuse to haul loads into Mexico because of safety concerns, noting that the Department of State issues warnings against doing so on a regular basis. OOIDA remains unconvinced that U.S. taxpayers will benefit from supposed efficiencies that proponents of the Obama-Calderon agreement are suggesting will accompany the new program. A report issued by the Congressional Research Service in February of 2010 stated: *The amount cited by the U.S. DOT does not include money spent by other federal and state government entities for drug interdiction, homeland security or immigration enforcement. OOIDA also notes that trade with Mexico is already healthy and rising without the new trucking program in place. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, surface transportation with Mexico totaled $32.1 billion in March 2011, up 15.3% compared to March 2010. In fact, truck-borne trade with Mexico was up 22% in March compared with February 2011 and up 15% compared with March of 2010. Adding insult to injury is the fact that U.S. taxpayer dollars will be used to fund the program including the purchase and installation of electronic monitoring devices for Mexican trucking companies participating in the program. Funding for those devices will come from taxes paid by U.S. truckers and citizens into the Highway Trust Fund, a fund that already is teetering on insolvency.