“Efficient operations at our nation’s land gateways, which link us to our largest trading partners, are essential to supporting both international trade and domestic manufacturing,” said Mort Downey, Founding Chairman of CAGTC. “Investment to support our land border infrastructure needs is necessary to ensuring unfettered tri-lateral trade.”
CAGTC’s research finds that growth in activity along border crossings has not been met with adequate improvements to efficiency and capacity and further investment is required if the United States is to keep up with growing NAFTA trade demands.
The report mentions current projects that can serve as the model for future border infrastructure investment. It highlights a pre-inspection pilot program at the Pacific Highway Port of Entry in Blaine, Wash. and praises the collaboration between the governments of Canada and the state of New York for expediting planned infrastructure investments that will improve the flow of freight and passengers across the Peace Bridge, which connects Buffalo, N.Y. and Fort Erie, Ontario. It also describes the development of a new border crossing, named Otay Mesa East, which will add much-needed capacity along the border between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.
“Southern California feels, firsthand, the impact of border crossing congestion. International trade plays an important role in our regional economy and the built infrastructure at land border crossings must be supported to foster the economic opportunity provided by trade,” said Sharon Neely, Chairman of CAGTC and Deputy Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments. “Moreover, these challenges are similar throughout the United States at both our northern and southern borders; we must make a commitment to increasing trade through improved efficiency at our borders.”
In the study, CAGTC also offers a policy recommendation to lawmakers that will help spur investment in these crossings and provide funding to projects that contribute to the efficient movement of freight domestically and internationally. These infrastructure improvements would be capitalized through the creation of a Federal Freight Trust Fund that would support multi-jurisdictional and multi-state projects across all modes. The report offers three additional policy considerations that will minimize strain at our borders, including suggestions for optimizing use of existing capacity, improving throughput through methods such as increased inspection rates, and expanding capacity through improved infrastructure and increased staffing.