El Paso Selected for Program to Reduce Bridge Wait Times
Public-private partnership program will increase trade & create jobs
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Beto O’ Rourke (TX-16) released the following statement today after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that the City of El Paso has been selected as one of five pilot programs across the country allowing the city to enter into a public private partnership with CBP. The program will allow the City of El Paso to work with CBP to increase staffing levels at El Paso’s land bridges. This marks the first time that the federal government has partnered with a local community to support growth in cross-border trade.
“This is another example of El Paso stepping up to decide its future. We have created a practical solution to reduce bridge wait times, increase bi-national trade and create jobs,” said Congressman O’Rourke. “El Paso is the second busiest port of entry in the nation, accounting for $92 billion in annual cross border trade with Mexico and $1.45 billion in retail shopping that supports nearly 100,000 jobs in our area. Today’s news was possible thanks to the strong leadership of current and former El Paso city councils. I look forward to continuing to work with CBP, Mayor Oscar Leeser and city leaders to execute the pilot program and deliver real and measureable results for the people of El Paso.”
Background: Earlier this year, Congressman O’Rourke helped introduce H.R. 1108, the Cross Border Trade Enhancement Act of 2013, to give CBP the authority to enter into public-private partnerships with local governments or private entities. The legislation was included in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, signed into law by President Obama in March. By giving CBP the authority to enter into these public private partnerships, this program will help CBP leverage its limited resources and acquire additional tools and financing to speed up the flow of traffic at border ports of entry.