January 27, 2014

Udall Secures Funding for Columbus Port of Entry Expansion

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that the Columbus Land Port of Entry is set to receive $7.4 million for expansion and modernization that will help improve security and commercial development and create jobs in New Mexico.

Udall, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, is a long-time supporter of the expansion. The new funding will help pay for the design phase of the planned expansion and modernization. Udall repeatedly discussed the need for the expansion with General Services Administration (GSA) officials, including during a hearing with acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini. The funding is coming as a result of a reprograming within GSA's budget, which was approved by Udall's subcommittee.

"The Columbus Port of Entry is extremely important to security, U.S.-Mexico trade and economic development in Southwest New Mexico. But the current facilities are outdated, prone to flooding and don't allow officials to smoothly handle inspections and increased commercial activity," Udall said. "Expanding the port of entry will help increase the amount of commercial trade between the U.S. and Mexico, improve security and create jobs and economic opportunity. I want to thank the GSA for hearing our request and making this initial funding available for the design phase, and I will continue to push for full funding."

The Columbus Port of Entry was built in 1989 to screen visitors entering the United States. Plans call for expanding the building workspace, inspection facilities and parking capacity to ensure the facility meets the needs of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Similar efforts are underway south of the border, where the government of Mexico is working to reroute traffic and improve access to port facilities. The new construction project was included in GSA's 2012 Prospectus at $66 million for design and construction to more than triple the size of the existing facility from over 20,000 to over 60,000 square feet of building space.

The GSA description of the project is available at: http://www.gsa.gov/graphics/pbs/US_Land_Port_of_Entry_Columbus_NM.pdf