Includes Funding for Douglas Port of Entry, Huge Priority for Southern Arizona
(Washington, D.C.) Today, Rep. Kirkpatrick released the following statement after President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law:
“Today, we delivered once-in-a-generation legislation to communities across the country. Together, what we passed and signed into law is transformative and historic for our country, and most importantly, for Arizona. By investing in roads, bridges, ports, railways, rural broadband and more, we are investing in good-paying union jobs and igniting a growing economy,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick.
With the signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, $3.85 billion will be directed to improving our land ports of entry, including $147 million for the San Luis Port of Entry, $184 million for the modernization of the current Douglas Port of Entry and $216 million for the new commercial Port of Entry in Douglas. This two-port solution will bring much needed economic development to our border communities, who have been hit particularly hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since I was elected in 2018, one of my top priorities has been to secure and deliver the funding to modernize the Douglas Port of Entry. It’s been one of my top goals in Congress and I’m overwhelmed that we have been able to deliver on this goal,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick.
In August, Rep. Kirkpatrick led a letter with Arizona Reps. Gallego, Grijalva, O’Halleran, Stanton, Gosar to House leadership supporting over $3.5 billion for Land Port of Entry modernization in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
From Rep. Kirkpatrick’s press release discussing the work earlier this year:
“LPOEs are critical economic drivers along our borders with Canada and Mexico,” expressed the lawmakers. “Our most direct neighbors are two of our most important trading partners, and LPOEs bolster the strength of those relationships. Unfortunately, too many LPOEs are no longer adequate for the increasing burden and traffic flow they face on a daily basis, endangering their effectiveness in facilitating cross-border trade and commerce.
Many LPOEs have aged and are no longer suitable to process the volume of traffic that flows through them every day. Three of the fifteen LPOEs on the Financial Services and General Government’s priority list are in Arizona: the San Luis Port of Entry and the commercial and non-commercial ports in Douglas.
“Further, LPOEs are integral to border security. A significant majority of the illicit drugs seized by Customs and Border Protection officials are intercepted at LPOEs, and they play an important role in preventing unlawful entry into the United States. Allowing our LPOEs to languish harms our border security,” wrote the lawmakers.
“I have toured our Southern Arizona ports – it is clear they are no longer suitable for the high volume of traffic that flows through them every day,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “Between commercial trade, cross-border tourism and economic activity, and CBP monitoring, it is clear we desperately need modernized ports, especially in Douglas. Securing the funding needed to modernize Arizona’s land ports of entry have been my top priority and I will continue fighting until we see it through.”
While President Biden’s American Jobs Plan already includes $3 billion for LPOEs, which will cover a significant number of priority LPOE improvement projects, the lawmakers are urging House and Senate leadership to include specific LPOE funding in any bipartisan infrastructure negotiations moving forward.
“President Biden was right to suggest that we should “invest heavily in improving the aging infrastructure at all of our ports of entry.” To that end, it is our hope that at least the $3 billion of critical funding included in the American Jobs Plan will be included in any upcoming bipartisan infrastructure legislation or an accompanying reconciliation package,” wrote the lawmakers.
“Getting this funding across the finish line wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated support and advocacy of our local leaders in Southern Arizona. I am incredibly proud to have worked so closely with Douglas Mayor Huish and San Luis Mayor Sanchez on these historic infrastructure projects. Together, along with my colleagues in Congress and President Biden, we are bringing long overdue economic relief and energy to Arizonans across the state” said Rep. Kirkpatrick.
The City of Douglas released the following statement after the House passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure package.