Last week, I toured New Mexico’s Columbus Port of Entry with GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini and New Mexico Senator Tom Udall to discuss needed improvements to the border crossing, including expansion and modernization. I’m a native New Mexican with roots in Deming, 30 miles from the Village of Columbus, so this project is special to me. I know firsthand that this border is a vital part of agricultural trade between the United States and Mexico, and the critical role it plays in the local community.
The Columbus Port of Entry is included in the FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which provides $9.3 billion in funding for GSA to invest in our nation’s public buildings. Land ports of entry are key priorities, and a crucial investment not only to the nation’s infrastructure, but to commerce and security as well. In recent years, the current Columbus port of entry has operated out of outdated facilities that do not adequately meet the needs of the tenant agencies, including the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This funding will allow GSA to make critical improvements that will enhance U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s mission.
During the tour, we saw the current operational facilities including inspection areas, docks, and support space. Since its construction in 1989, screening at this port of entry has increased significantly and advances in technology have increased the need for modernized facilities. The 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act will provide $7.4 million to fund updates that will address increased traffic flow, technological improvements, and mitigate stormwater flooding. These updated infrastructure and technologies will provide more efficient, secure, and expedited processing for travelers crossing the border.
I am proud that the work GSA does positively impacts the lives of so many Americans, especially in my home town.