No Funding For New Port of Entry Expansion In Trump Budget

No Funding For New Port of Entry Expansion In Trump Budget

BY MARIO CONDE

President Donald Trump released his 2018 federal budget leaves out funding for the second phase of the Calexico West Port of Entry Expansion.

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors met last Tuesday and received the news that the released federal budget does not include funding for the new port of entry. Intergovernmental Relations Director Rebecca Terrazas-Baxter announced during the legislative update on the meeting that funding for the Calexico West Port of Entry was not included in the budget released by the White House Tuesday morning.

Terrazas-Baxter said that the county will continue its efforts to have funding available with the support of congressional appropriators but they will have a hard fight ahead of them because of the fact that the FBI consolidation project is taking up a lot of GSA’s budget as it did in fiscal year 2017.

“The County of Imperial will continue advocating for the funding,” Terrazas-Baxter stated.

County Supervisor John Renison said that its not a surprise that the funding was not allocated but said they will be taking to the commission of the House of Representatives but said they will have to take a very aggressive approach and not wait.

“The construction would stop in March and we will have ten lanes but we won’t have the additional six lanes for about three four years by the time they put back on the budget,” Renison said. “If the President believes in border security, then to me is a no-brainer to funds Ports of Entry.”

The Phase 1 of Port Expansion project includes the construction of privately owned vehicle inspection facilities, new southbound lanes into Mexico, a new headhouse to provide supervision and services to the non-commercial vehicle inspection area. The project will increase operational space, reduce traffic congestion, and create a safe environment for port employees and border crossers alike. Phase 2 will include additional sitework, demolition of the existing port building, a new pedestrian processing facility, administrative offices, five southbound POV inspection lanes with canopies and booths, and six additional northbound POV inspection lanes.

The budget proposes $607 billion in defense discretionary spending and $560 billion in non-defense discretionary spending for fiscal year 2018. Trump stated in the executive summary of the budget that it meets the need to materially increase funding for border security, immigration, enforcement, and law enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security and Justice.

“These funding increases will provide additional resources for a southern border wall, expanded detention capacity, and initiatives to reduce violent crime, as well as more immigration judges, U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers, and Border Patrol agents,” Trump stated.

The Budget Blueprint outlined a plan to reduce non-defense discretionary spending by $54 billion in 2018. As part of the plan to achieve a balanced budget by 2027, the budget builds on the approach by a 2-penny plan that would reduce non-defense budget authority by two percent each year, to reach approximately $385 billion in 2027, or just over 1.2 percent of GDP.

The Calexico West Land Port of Entry is the third busiest land port in California, with 4 million northbound vehicles and 4.5 million pedestrians crossing each year. The current facilities physical infrastructure, built in 1974, is undersize relative to existing traffic loads.