By R. Mitchell –
BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Last month, construction was completed on the Brownsville Veterans International Bridge Land Port of Entry adding pavement expansion improvements for commercial vehicles. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Donations Acceptance Program (DAP) partnered with the General Services Administration (GSA) and Cameron County, TX to quickly execute this $500,000 project which will increase traffic flow at the port of entry and decrease wait times for commercial vehicles. The project became a catalyst for streamlining the CBP and GSA approval processes for similar future partnerships. Beginning in January of 2018, and completed in March of 2019, the project went from idea to realization in fifteen months.
“Our mission is to facilitate legitimate trade and travel while maintaining an enforcement posture to keep our borders and our country secure. This project is a collaborative effort which allows both objectives to be accomplished more efficiently,” said Port Director Tater Ortiz, Brownsville Port of Entry. “I thank our partners for their vision and for working so expeditiously to see this project come to fruition.”
The new inbound lanes will allow commercial vehicles to easily maneuver to navigate soon to be installed Multi-Energy Portals (MEPs) as part of the “Model Port” initiative. MEPs are a drive-through Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) imaging system that will scan commercial vehicles pre-primary inspection, a preemptive step in the inspection process increasing border security and trade facilitation while decreasing driver waiting times at border crossing ports of entry. The ability to add on more lanes and scan vehicles before they reach primary inspection improves the overall wait commercial travelers.
The “Model Port” initiative looks to launch NII technology at select ports of entry to further enhance CBP’s mission to protect the public while fostering the Nation’s global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel.
Section 482 of the Cross-Border Trade Enhancement Act of 2016, Pub. L. No. 114-279, 130 Stat. 1413 (codified at 6 U.S.C. § 301a), authorizes CBP and GSA to accept donations of real property, personal property (including monetary donations) and non-personal services from public and private sector entities.
“On behalf of Cameron County, I am pleased to see the completion of the commercial FAST lane expansion project. As the main source for international commercial traffic in Cameron County, it is vital that the Veterans International Bridge operates at full capacity. We are very grateful for such an opportunity to work with our counterparts to improve our ports of entry. As the DAP is a federal program authorized by Congress, I would also like to extend a thank you to our delegation, including Congressman Vela and Senator Cornyn, for their approval and support on such programs which enhance the overall safety and effectiveness of our communities and ports,” said Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr.
Public-private partnerships are a key component of CBP’s Resource Optimization Strategy and allow CBP to provide new or expanded services and infrastructure at domestic ports of entry.
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