Texas Senators push to allow private investment in border infrastructure

In a brief tour of two South Texas border cities Monday, Sen. John Cornyn heard often about the need for better infrastructure at ports of entry to facilitate trade with Mexico.

Cornyn, a Texas Republican and a hawk on border security, used the opportunity to tout a bill he has pending in the Senate that would allow for more public-private partnerships to increase staffing at ports of entry and improve infrastructure, reported San Antonio Express-News.

“There are now roughly 6 million American jobs that depend on trade with Mexico, including more than 420,000 here in Texas,” Cornyn said at a luncheon in Del Rio. “The growth rate of U.S.-Mexico trade has slowed during the past decade, partly because of inadequate infrastructure and staffing at our border crossings.”

The city is lobbying for a second international bridge to accommodate the increased traffic from the burgeoning maquiladora industry in Ciudad Acuña, across the Rio Grande, said Al Arreola Jr., executive director of the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce.

Cornyn’s bill, which he introduced with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, would allow CBP to partner with local governments and businesses to provide personnel at the ports of entry.Meanwhile, Mexican business leaders expressed their concern that the U.S. still isn’t doing enough to facilitate trade. Upgrades at the customs facility in Acuña will be finished next year and both that city and the state of Coahuila have upgraded highways, saidJuan J. Flores, president of one of Acuña’s chambers of commerce. But businessmen in that city are concerned that a proposed plan to improve U.S. 277 between Del Rio and San Angelo, allowing trucks to bypass Interstate 35, hasn’t happened, Flores said.

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About tanialara

Tania Lara has a vast experience working as a journalist in Mexico and the U.S. reporting in-depth about the economic contributions and realities of Mexican immigrants. This summer, she will be covering border issues and elections for the 21st Century Border Initiative blog. Her stories about complex cross border matters have been published in Spanish-language media outlets including CNN México, Expansión, and ¡Ahora Sí!, as well as the English-language newspaper The Austin American-Statesman.
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