County Funding Emergency

By Mario Conde

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors met this past Tuesday and endorsed a letter in support for new funding for the new Calexico Port of Entry.

The new port of entry that was going to start construction this year was but funding was slashed by Republicans in Congress in order to save money and eliminate the huge budget deficit the country faces right now. The new port of entry will have sixteen lanes and will have the best technology for border security and to decrease border wait times at the Calexico-Mexicali border. The current Port of Entry in downtown Calexico will be only for pedestrians only.

Good news has come since then since lawmakers might approve funding for the new port of entry this Thursday. President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2012 budget provides for transfer of $2.2 million dollars from the Federal Highway Administration to General Services Administration to be used for border infrastructure modernization. In a letter sent to the Federal Transportation Commission members, The County Board asks lawmakers to support this transfer of money to GSA since they oversee the maintenance and upgrading border stations on the U.S/Mexico Border.

“The Land Ports of Entry along the Southwestern region needs substantial infrastructure improvements and significant investment.” The letter said and emphasized the fact that 88% of trade comes for the Canadian/Mexican border.

The County said that action needs to be done today or there will be an increase the cost of repairs and will take 40 years to address. Supervisor Gary Wyatt mentioned how many legislators in Washington don’t know anything about the border and how much it benefits the nation’s economy. Chairman Jack Terrazas echoed Wyatt’s comments and explained how Mexico is way ahead of them and they will start of their construction shortly.

The Board approved the letter 4-0 having Supervisor Kelley being absent from this meeting.

In other news, the Board approved a resolution proclaiming the existence of a local emergency due to the severe storm events passed through southern regions of Imperial County.  In a report given by County Fire Chief Tony Rouhotas said that these storms brought heavy rains, winds, and lightning, causing damage to the areas of Imperial County and specifically property belonging to the Imperial Irrigation District. The storm which occurred on the evening of July 7th, damaged over thirty power poles, two power lines and leaving many Calexico residents with now power. There was even damage to one structure, where Imperial Irrigation District fell onto the roof. This damaged is estimated to be at one million dollars. The storm which occurred on the evening of July 10th damaged over 63 power poles, multiple power lines and left many with no power. The damaged from this date is estimated to be one and a half million dollars.