Rep. Cuellar Announces Over $100 Million Plan for Technology and Other Infrastructure to Modernize World Trade Bridge into a World Class Cargo Processing Facility
Transformation into World Trade Bridge 2.0
LAREDO, Texas – Today at the World Trade Bridge, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) joined U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, the Office of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the City of Laredo, the State of Texas, and representatives of the international trade community to announce a $100 million plan to increase technology and modernize Laredo’s World Trade Bridge and make it a world-class cargo facility. This will transform the port into the World Trade Bridge 2.0.
“The World Trade Bridge is already the busiest land port in the western hemisphere with over $300 billion in trade generated and over 2 million trucks crossing annually,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Laredo is a powerhouse when it comes to trade, and we want to make sure we remain number one. This collaborative effort to increase technology and expand our facilities on the bridge will increase the port’s efficiency significantly over the next few years. With more efficient processing, increased cargo capacity and reduced wait times, we will save millions of dollars in lost economic output and create jobs while securing our strategic location as a world trade hub. I thank CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan for his leadership, as well as CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Todd C. Owen, CBP Office of Field Operations Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner John Wagner, CBP Director Field Operations David P. Higgerson, CBP Assistant Director for Field Operations Brad Skinner, CBP Port Director for the Laredo Port of Entry Greg Alvarez, CBP Deputy Port Director Alberto Flores, Senator Cornyn, Mayor Pete Saenz and the City of Laredo and our stakeholders for working together to invest in Laredo’s future.”
World Trade Bridge 2.0 - Blueprint for Modernizing the Federal Inspection Station into a World Class Cargo Facility
Plans for the World Trade Bridge include transforming the Federal Inspection Station in the next few years to increase cargo efficiency by:
· Allowing for automated pre-screening and inspection data collection of U.S.-bound cargo earlier in the supply chain
· Automating certain functions allowing CBP Officers to focus inspection skills on high-risk enforcement, security and compliance shipments
· Integrate technologies such as robust WIFI capability, Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID), drive through multi-energy truck portal X-ray systems and other CBP Cargo Processing systems into a common software
· Build out a cargo traffic control tower with an operations center, X-Ray Image analysis stations, and cameras to monitor actives through the compound in real time and provide managers with container status at any point and the tools to monitor efficiency
· Include State of the Art Inspection and Technology Training Center and Agricultural Laboratory
· Maximize join inspections with other U.S. Federal,
· Flexible and scalable inspection areas to meet future needs including bypass lanes
This future investment is expected to exceed $100 million, which includes $10.3 million from the City of Laredo for the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes Relocation Project which will expedite trade from trusted partners.
559 Program (Donation Acceptance Program)
The City of Laredo will be working with CBP and GSA to construct a dedicated lane on the bridge for the sole use of participants in the trusted shipper program. The project will create a dedicated lane on the bridge, allowing FAST trucks a more direct route from the bridge, into the new inspection facility, and on to their final destinations.
The new 599 Program will include:
· a new roadway connecting to four new primary inspection booth
· a non-intrusive inspection (NII) area
· two exit control booths
· and access to the current secondary inspection facility and Hazmat area
This project is expected to reduce choke points and increase the bridge’s capacity by 47 percent while reducing trusted shippers traffic delay times from 30 minutes to five minutes. It is anticipated to require three years of design, procurement, and construction.
Expansion of World Trade Bridge
As part of his ongoing advocacy for these programs, Congressman Cuellar has invited Randi Fredholm-Hutchinson, Chief Counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, for a meeting about transportation and trade with stakeholders in Laredo on July 10. The group will also discuss DOT’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program to help rebuild and develop our nation’s infrastructure.