WASHINGTON, D. C. –The Border Trade Alliance (BTA) is calling on Washington to include port and transportation infrastructure funding in any economic stimulus package that’s tabled.
The pro-trade lobby group says US ports of entry are the “cash registers of our nation,” handling nearly US$800 billion in trade each year.
A group of 11 House members recently called for $5 billion in funding to upgrade US land ports of entry to support cross-border trade -an appeal that was lauded by the Border Trade Alliance.
“The BTA has continually recommended that federal resources must more closely match the economic contribution of our nation’s 166 land ports of entry,” the organization said in a release.
“US Customs and Border Protection has stated that it alone requires $5 billion over the next 10 years in infrastructure maintenance and upgrades to its facilities at land ports of entry in order to support its dual mission of facilitating legitimate trade and travel facilitation and providing security along our borders.”
BTA pointed out that a recent Texas Transportation Institute report suggested road and border congestion caused Americans to burn up an extra 2.9 billion gallons of fuel at a cost of US$78 billion in 2007 alone.
“BTA feels that decision-makers in Washington should be alarmed by recent statistics that illustrate the economic impacts of inadequate border infrastructure and cross-border congestion,” the group said.
The President’s Export Council has pegged trade as being responsible for one-third of the US’s $14 trillion economy.
Most of that trade occurs between NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico.
During the past year, US trade accounted for 61% of the country’s economic growth, according to a recent National Association of Manufacturers study.
“The economic activity at our borders plays a significant role in supporting real job growth, working families and supports vital domestic industries like agriculture and manufacturing,” said BTA.
“The direct national economic contribution of cross-border travel and exports conducted at the US land ports of entry last year totaled more than $360 billion.”
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