Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., District 27

For Immediate Release
Friday, August 27, 1999
Contact: Doris Sanchez
(512) 463-0127

Brownsville, Laredo and El Paso ports of entry would get one-stop border inspection stations under bill just approved by Senate

AUSTIN, Texas--The Texas Senate today passed a bill that would create one-stop Border inspection facilities in Brownsville, Laredo and El Paso.

"One-stop commercial centers will efficiently separate commerce from interdiction so Texas can move NAFTA trade through Border ports," said Sen. Elliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso. "All of Texas and the country benefit."

Senate Bill 913, authored by Sen. Shapleigh, attempts to reduce congestion at these ports of entry by directing the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to build and maintain these inspection facilities.

"This is a great piece of legislation that will help expedite the flow of traffic in these three cities, where the greatest flow of commercial traffic between Mexico and Texas is occurring and continues to grow," said Sen. Lucio, co-author of SB 913.

Modeled after similar facilities in California, these one-stop inspection facilities would allow federal, state, and municipal agencies that regulate the passage of commercial vehicles to be located in one place, reducing congestion and expediting the flow of commerce.

With the advent of NAFTA, Mexico is now the United States' second largest trading partner and Texas' largest. Texas exports accounted for 43.7 percent of all 1997 United States shipments to Mexico and totaled $31.2 billion, an increase of 15.3 percent over 1996 export levels.

SB 913 would require TxDOT to choose a location for an inspection station along a major highway at or near a border crossing from Mexico in Brownsville, Laredo, and El Paso so that all federal, state and municipal agencies that regulate the passage of persons or vehicles across the Border at that Border crossing may be located in one place. Construction of the facilities would be contingent on a commitment by the federal government to cooperate in their design and use.

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NOTE: Staffer handling this legislation is Daniel Esparza, Border Affairs Committee director, 512 463-0127.

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