February 14, 2019

VIDEO: Udall Calls for Infrastructure Improvements to Bolster New Mexico Border Economies

Champions smart investments in ports of entry to boost economic development in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border

VIDEO: Udall Calls for Infrastructure Improvements to Bolster New Mexico Border Economies

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall questioned transportation leaders on opportunities for infrastructure improvements at ports of entry during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing titled “America’s Infrastructure Needs: Keeping Pace with a Growing Economy.” As a member of the Senate Commerce and Appropriations Committees, Udall has long championed strong federal investment to improve infrastructure and technology throughout New Mexico, including along the U.S.-Mexico border, which would bolster economic development in New Mexico’s border communities, such as the growing area around Santa Teresa, New Mexico. 

In his opening statement, Udall emphasized the critical role that ports of entry play in boosting economic development in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying, “New Mexico’s border region, including the Santa Teresa Point of Entry, is a bright spot in New Mexico’s economy. The economic development in this area is due mostly to trade from Mexico and a 2010 expansion of the Port of Entry. Now, Customs seeks funding to increase capacity for inspections and infrastructure because of increased traffic. Additionally, railroads say that increased Customs resources would help with faster and more thorough inspections of goods crossing the border.” 

Udall then questioned Ian Jefferies, President and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, asking, “In your opinion, should Congress include ports of entry in any upcoming infrastructure legislation? Would increased funding for customs and infrastructure in areas such as Santa Teresa facilitate economic development while providing greater security for the border and for the country?” 

In response, Jefferies agreed that including improvements to ports of entry in an infrastructure package “absolutely merits consideration.” He also stated that the “free flow and efficient flow of goods across borders, Mexico included, is critical to the success of not only the economy but the rail industry. If anything can be done to make that flow more efficient, and to keep goods moving back and forth… it is a good idea worth considering.” 

As a border state senator, Udall has led the call for a robust, long-term infrastructure plan that includes smart investments in ports of entry that would enable more efficient trade between the United States and Mexico, improve border security, and create countless jobs in New Mexico. Earlier this month, Udall, along with U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, introduced the Trade Facilitation and Security Enhancement Act, which would direct Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to conduct a study to identify improvements to redesign, modernize, and improve efficiency at designated ports of entry.