County Makes Case For Funds To Complete New POE
BY MARIO CONDE
Imperial County officials visited Washington D.C. last week to talk to about funding for the second phase of the port of entry expansion in Calexico.
Last month it was announced that funding for the second phase of the new port of entry was not included in President Trump’s budget proposal. This disappointment among the county board since it’s a project important for Imperial Valley and the region. Supervisors John Renison and Ray Castillo traveled to Washington D.C. along with CEO Ralph Cordova and Legislative Director Rebecca Terrazas-Baxter to talk about the funding for the second phase. Renison attended the Border Trade Alliance meeting and mentioned that funding for the port of entry is not a partisan issue and said that there is support by them to include it this year.
“Somehow GSA assumed that the budget for the second phase was going to be included but we will start lobbying to make it happen,” Renison said. “We will start a common front with our colleagues with Texas, Arizona, and California and the San Diego Congressional delegation to make it a regional issue, because that’s what it is.” Supervisor Castillo said that GSA’s five year budget plan did enumerate the second phase for the port of entry since GSA believed it was going to be included in 2017.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us and need to work with our congressman and other representatives to include the funding in this year’s budget,” Castillo said. CEO Ralph Cordova stated that after their meetings with GSA and the support they had in the meetings in Washington that language added to the budget to include funding for the port of entry expansion.
The Phase 1 of Port Expansion project includes the construction of privately owned vehicle inspection facilities, new southbound lanes into Mexico, a new head house to provide supervision and services to the noncommercial 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 site work, 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.