U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) asked Homeland Security officials yesterday in Washington, D.C. to seriously consider a new port of entry in Douglas, Arizona, located within her jurisdiction, following the city’s recent commercial port expansion.
In her request, McSally cited statistics supporting the need for a port and detailed anticipated continued growth. The City of Douglas previously asked to secure approval for such a commercial port in order to stimulate economic growth, increase trade opportunities and facilitate Customs and Border Protections improvements beginning in 2012. The City made the request in coordination with the Municipality of Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico.
“This expansion will not only benefit Douglas and Cochise County, but our state and the entire nation by helping move goods from Mexico, one of the world’s fastest growing economies,” said Douglas Mayor Danny Ortega. “I thank Congresswoman McSally for her efforts. Since taking office, she’s been our biggest and strongest supporter and has made several visits to the area to see first-hand the need for this port of entry. Without her help, we would not be where we are today, and I feel we are very close to getting this project to fruition.”
Because federal budgets saw a shortfall in recent years, Douglas identified funding sources in the form of a Private Public Partnership requiring a $47 million investment, submitted a formal request in December 2014. In her June 30 letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, McSally asked for a response, and yesterday, finally engaged officials at a Homeland Security Committee hearing.
“We can’t wait any longer. Douglas is dependent on the two-way traffic and trade with Mexico, but lacks the infrastructure needed to meet current or future demand at its port,” said Rep. McSally. “I’ve met with city and port officials on numerous occasions and seen first-hand the need for expanding this infrastructure. I’m encouraged by the responses we received today and commitment from the Administration to work with us on our options.”
McSally, who represents Arizona’s 2nd District, has consistently advocated for increased staffing at land ports, recently facilitating successful enactment of the Border Jobs for Veterans Act into law.