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Press Release

Reps. Cuellar, Gonzales, Escobar, Gonzalez, and Vasquez Introduce the Land Port of Entry (LPOE) Modernization Trust Fund Act

Washington | Arturo C. Olivarez, DC Press Secretary (956-970-1441), May 22, 2023

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28), Congressman Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23), Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D-TX-16), Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-34), and Congressman Gabe Vasquez (D-NM-2) introduced the Land Port of Entry (LPOE) Modernization Trust Fund Act. This legislation will establish a trust fund that will be used to (1) construct new ports of entry, (2) expand and improve existing ports of entry, (3) procure technology for inspecting and processing traffic passing through ports of entry, and (4) hire U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will also establish the Land Port of Entry Modernization Oversight Board to advise DHS on how to use the trust fund and to review the trust fund's expenditures.

“While waterway-based ports of entry have long had the benefit of a consistent source of federal resources via the authorization of a similar trust fund, our overburdened land-based ports of entry have struggled. The LPOE Modernization Trust Fund Act is needed to properly redistribute much needed resources to LPOE facilities and to ensure the United States’ long-term economic prosperity through international trade,” said Congressman Cuellar. “The LPOE Trust Fund will expand, improve, and construct new U.S. ports of entry and support infrastructure to accommodate high volumes of commercial, vehicle, and pedestrian traffic. It will also help critical transit and trade facilities more efficiently complete the inspection and processing of commercial, vehicle, and pedestrian traffic. I applaud my fellow border colleagues for working together in a bipartisan manner to support crucial investments in our land port infrastructure.”

“Land ports of entry do not just serve as the frontlines for defending against illicit smuggling of drugs and other contraband – they are essential to facilitating international trade and boosting our nation’s economy. The Land Port of Entry (LPOE) Modernization Trust Fund Act will ensure there are resources available solely dedicated to making much needed improvements to our nation’s land ports of entry infrastructure. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues across the aisle to introduce this important legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives,” said Congressman Gonzales.

“The infrastructure at our ports of entry is in dire need of upgrades,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “We live in a country where our airports are revered in our communities, offering world-class customer service without sacrificing comfort or security; I want that same sentiment expressed when it comes to our ports. I'm thrilled to join my fellow co-sponsors of this legislation to use funds to make the necessary investments to modernize the technology and infrastructure at our ports.”

“South Texas is one of the main arteries for trade and tourism in the nation, but its ports of entry sorely need to be expanded and updated to accommodate the travel demand and increasing traffic in the region,” said Congressman Gonzalez. “I’m proud to partner with Congressman Cuellar to advance legislation that would provide federal funding to adequately staff, update, and create additional ports of entry in the United States. We have made historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure in recent years, and we can’t let our land ports of entry fall by the wayside any longer.”

“The benefits of modernizing the ports of entry in New Mexico, like the Santa Teresa Port of Entry, are undeniable with cutting edge x-ray technology allowing ports to scan every commercial vehicle crossing into the U.S. border,” said Congressman Vasquez. “I’m proud to introduce legislation that supports our land ports of entry and border communities.”

“The Border Trade Alliance applauds Rep. Cuellar and this bipartisan group of lawmakers for prioritizing the needs of our land ports of entry. Modern, properly resourced ports of entry are essential to the economic health of the entire country. We look forward to working with Rep. Cuellar and the cosponsors to see this important legislation through to passage,” said Britton Mullen, President of the Border Trade Alliance.

“The Port of Laredo is the number 1 inland port along the US-Mexico Border, with more than 5.5 million trucks crossing the border in 2022. In order to keep up with the growing volume of freight crossing the border daily, it’s essential we invest funds into improving and expanding infrastructure at ports of entry across Texas, as well as along our nation’s borders more broadly. Mexico is and will continue to be our top trading partner – we must plan for reliable and dependable infrastructure to be in place. We applaud Congressman Henry Cuellar, a true champion of the trucking industry, for his forward thinking in planning for increased demand, versus reacting to it once it’s too late,” said John D. Esparza, President & CEO of the Texas Trucking Association.

For more information on the Land Port of Entry (LPOE) Modernization Trust Fund Act, click here.