Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Construction projects at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border are facing challenges due to federal budget cuts.
SAN DIEGO An expansion project already underway at the port of entry that links San Ysidro-Tijuana could be delayed by more than two years due to a lack of federal funding. In the meantime, old infrastructure and traffic delays coming into the U.S. from Mexico at that crossing - frequently called the world's busiest land border crossing - are costing billions of dollars in trade between the two countries.
The issue is common along the lengthy border shared by the two countries. The need to fund construction projects to expand border crossings is leading to new public-private partnerships.
Alejandra Mier y Teran, Executive Director of the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce, is among the advocates of using private funds for border infrastructure projects, which would then be managed by the government.
"What's very interesting is that the two countries, or entities, that are working on this project are trying to have one toll and then have that distributed," said Mier y Teran. "The toll would pay for the infrastructure...the maintenance is being discussed with Customs and Border Protection."
El Paso, Texas, and Nogales, Arizona, are two other cities along the U.S.-Mexico border also undergoing remodeling projects which may require a mix of private and public funding.