Press Release

Rep. Cuellar and City of Laredo Announce Over $7.5 Million for New Cargo Runway Expansion at Laredo Int’l Airport

Increasing trade and efficiency at the Laredo airport through federal funding ?

Washington | Olya Voytovich, DC Press Secretary (202-226-1583); Leslie Martinez, District Press Secretary (956-286-6007), October 30, 2018

LAREDO, TX—Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and the City of Laredo announced over $7.5 million to the Laredo International Airport to make necessary infrastructure improvements that will bring in trade while increasing safety and efficiency of the airport. Specifically, these federal funds from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be used to improve the Laredo International Airport cargo runway, having a direct impact on trade and the economy of the surrounding area. This money is in addition to the over $181 million dollars in federal funds that have been awarded to the Laredo Int’l Airport over the last 10 years. Over the last 25 years, the airport has received over $243 million dollars in funds with an additional $20 million in local match.

This federal grant funding will be used for the rehabilitation of 8,000 square yards of the existing cargo apron to maintain the structural strength of the pavement. These airport improvements and expansion will increase the safety, efficiency and capacity of aircraft movements. This funding is provided through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The Laredo International Airport is an international gateway for air cargo.  In 2017, 539,644,288 pounds of air cargo landed via the Port of Laredo.  FedEx, BAX Global, DHL, and Airborne are a few of cargo carriers that serve the Laredo Community. In the last five years, only one of the roughly four dozen U.S. customs districts has seen its trade grow more rapidly than Laredo’s which is up 30.94% in that period. Over the last two decades Laredo’s trade has increased 354.93%, more than twice as fast as the U.S. overall.

The Laredo Int’l Airport is the only airport in the U.S. with an operation of Mexican Customs to pre-inspect south bound air cargo. Thanks to the Congressman’s efforts with the governments of Mexico and the United States to establish this operation, which allows cargo to be pre-inspected by Mexican customs officers under the Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT) at the Laredo International Airport and arrive in Mexico as pre-inspected cargo.  Congressman Cuellar has worked on this project closely with the City of Laredo, who invested $3.3 million, to construct the facility.

Industries participating under Mexican Customs pre-inspection include auto parts, automotive manufacturing, electronics/electrical and aerospace, with auto parts being the number one air cargo commodity in Laredo. Cellphones, gasoline, and motor vehicles are also among the most actively traded commodities. Laredo Int’l Airport is the only primary commercial service airport in the U.S. with CBP availability 24/7 to include clearance of air cargo. Air Traffic Operations have increased over six percent in the last year.

“This grant represents a federal investment for the well-being of our citizens and for our economy,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Improving trade and passenger safety, while allowing for easier more efficient commerce, will improve our local economy and tourism here in Laredo. I will continue fighting for funding for programs to bring more trade, improve safety and infrastructure in Laredo. I would like to thank City of Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, District V Council Member Nelly Vielma, City Manager Horacio De Leon, and Director of Transportation Mario Maldonado for working with me on this issue.”

“We thank Congressman Cuellar for his support to the City of Laredo as we apply for competitive federal grants,” said Mayor Pete Saenz. “These funds will help with much needed upgrades to our cargo apron and allow us to continue to attract business from all over the world to Port Laredo.”

“This grant will go a long way to help us with our master airport plan,” said Laredo City Manager Horacio de Leon, Jr. “The rehabilitation of our cargo apron is needed so that we can continue with much-needed upgrades to our airport which will allow for larger and heavier aircrafts to do business in our city. I thank Congressman Cuellar for all his efforts to make Laredo number one in trade.”

Congressman Cuellar (TX-28) presents Department of Transportation grant to the Laredo International Airport in Laredo on Tuesday. Pictured from left are Congressman Henry Cuellar, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, City Manager Horacio de Leon Jr., Deputy City Manager Cynthia Collazo, Assistant Airport Director Elsy Borgstedte, Director of Transportation Mario Maldonado and Airport Director Alejandro Labrada.