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Easing Land Border Congestion as NAFTA Trade Grows

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is moving to cut border backups by speeding implementation of projects through a combination of public and private financing schemes.

Border crossings in California, Texas and Washington will be the beneficiaries of these moves. “Congestion at our borders is choking both travelers and commerce with excessive wait times and negatively impacting air quality,” observes US Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters. “By prioritizing the projects, we can improve the movement of people and goods across our borders and help to maintain these important economic lifelines.”

Specific projects are:

  • San Diego's Otay Mesa, CA East Port of Entry that will create a new port of entry and a 2.7-mile, four-lane highway linking to the existing California highway system in order to provide more capacity for traffic through the region.

  • The East Loop Bypass Project at Laredo, TX will build a new rail bridge across the border and create a new rail bypass around the city, with the objective of adding rail capacity and improving safety.

  • The Cascade Gateway Expanded Cross-border Advanced Traveler Information System at Blaine, WA. Its aim is to provide real-time border-crossing wait-times and other travel information through a combination of technologies.

Year over year through the first seven months of this year, surface transportation trade between the US and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Mexico and Canada, is up 9.6%, according to DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Surface transportation between the countries makes up 88% of US trade by value with the two countries. Movements are by truck, rail and pipeline.

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