LAREDO, Texas, Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA) Administrator Dan Tangherlini and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, joined by Congressman Henry Cuellar and Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas, announced plans to modernize and expand the Land Port of Entry in Laredo, Texas.
As part of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget appropriation, Congress allocated $61.6 million for the expansion and modernization of two of the four ports of entry (POE) that make up the Laredo port. Construction will include the modernization of Laredo Bridge 1, the Convent Avenue POE, as well as the construction of a new automobile and bus inspection facility at Laredo Bridge 2, the Juárez-Lincoln POE. The Laredo port currently struggles with traffic congestion and is in critical need of additional space and modern updates. The project is expected to significantly ease pedestrian and vehicle traffic as well as upgrade the functionality of the facility to better assist DHS in fulfilling its mission of keeping America's borders safe and secure.
Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Homeland Security has dedicated historic levels of personnel, technology, and infrastructure to the Southwest border to reduce illicit activities and facilitate legal trade and travel that contributes to the nation's economy. And this Laredo modernization and expansion project will greatly contribute to this effort by transforming the aging port into a well equipped modern facility.
- Laredo 1 POE modernization work includes a complete renovation of the exterior of the historic administration building, as well as the interior spaces, to improve pedestrian flow through the port.
- Laredo 2 POE expansion work includes the construction of new bus stalls and vehicle inspection lanes; plus a new waiting area, new restrooms and canopy for loading and unloading buses.
- Once work is completed, port goers will see faster pedestrian and vehicle processing times in addition to increased general safety and security for both the public and Customs and Border Protection officers.
- Estimated Project Timeline:
- Issuance of construction RFP March 2014
- Construction Contract Award August 2014
- Construction Completion July 2017
GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said:
"Laredo is a top priority for GSA, and a perfect example of how the agency's commitment to efficiency and savings serves federal agencies and taxpayers alike. By making critical investments in America's infrastructure today, we will create significant savings by preventing costly emergency repairs in the future."
DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said:
"One of the top priorities for this Administration, and for the Department of Homeland Security, is to strengthen our border security while facilitating the lawful trade and travel essential to our economy. The funding to expand and modernize the Laredo Port of Entry reaffirms our commitment. Over the past five years, DHS has dedicated historic levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border and we will continue to work with our federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as our Mexican partners, to keep our communities safe."
Congressman Henry Cuellar said:
"This means pedestrians will no longer have to wait in long lines in the heat and buses and cars will pass more quickly across the border. It will also increase the safety of our border communities and allow for better flow of trade and commerce through our ports. I would like to thank General Services Administration Administrator Dan Tangherlini for his continued support for this project. I would also like to thank the City of Laredo as well as my colleagues Congressman Ander Crenshaw and Congressman Jose Serrano for their support of this funding."
Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas said:
"As one of the nation's busiest pedestrian, automobile and bus traffic border crossings, these upgrades to Laredo Bridges I and II will help to not only create a more efficient and secure processing of people into the United States, but also, help ensure that people will not have to be exposed to the elements for an undue amount of time. I have to thank Congressman Cuellar for his work to make this project a reality, working to fund this project as a priority for GSA, this community and those who use Laredo Bridge System daily. Additionally, I applaud the efforts of GSA to make these improvements for safety and wellness of the CBP officers who every day process hundreds at these two Laredo Port of Entry crossings."
- The Laredo 1 POE ranked fourth and fifth highest in pedestrian crossings in FY '12 and FY '13, respectively.
- The Laredo 2 POE ranked the second busiest crossing for buses in FY '12 with an average of 106 buses a day.
- In 2012 and 2013, the Laredo 2 POE was the fourth busiest bridge for privately owned vehicle crossings with 3,364,645 and 3,519,680 respectively.
- Both Laredo 1 and Laredo 2 POEs are two of the nation's busiest border crossings for pedestrians and buses.
Additional Project Details:
- This modernization and expansion project will improve the amount of time and resources required to process pedestrians, automobiles, and buses while improving the safety and security.
- Plans include transforming the inspection and passenger processing areas, pedestrian inspection lanes and inspection area including the luggage x-ray, waiting area and restrooms.
- A dedicated space for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will be created so that the Administration can perform required bus inspections on a more consistent basis.
For more information on the Laredo Port of Entry project, visit GSA.gov.
SOURCE U.S. General Services Administration