IN THE NEWS: Sen. Kelly Secures Investments for Arizona Ports of Entry in Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Applauded by Local Leaders

In case you missed it, San Luis Mayor Gerardo Sanchez and Jamie Chamberlain, Chair of the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority, penned guest columns applauding Senator Mark Kelly’s work to secure priorities for border communities in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, including funding for road and bridges, high-speed internet, and water and wastewater infrastructure that would support communities like Nogales. The infrastructure bill also funds $147 million for the San Luis Port of Entry, $216 million for the new Douglas Port of Entry, and $184 million for rehabilitation at the current Douglas Port of Entry. Kelly’s work on the bipartisan infrastructure bill was also highlighted in the Sierra Vista Herald.

Kelly is one of the 22 members of the Senate bipartisan group that reached a $1.2 trillion infrastructure agreement, now called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. After visiting ports of entry in Yuma, Douglas, and Nogales, Kelly made it a priority to secure funding for ports of entry modernization to improve border security, reduce wait times, and better facilitate trade. 

Read the key excerpts from the latest coverage and guest columns from Arizona leaders:

Sierra Vista Herald: Plan would create two Douglas ports of entry

[…] The Port of Entry in Douglas will be receiving the makeover thanks to the efforts of Kelly, who paid a visit to the Douglas POE in May to see firsthand the condition of the aging port.

A consortium of partners including Douglas Regional Economic Development Corporation, Douglas International Port Authority, Douglas Industrial Development Authority and Cochise County have been working to improve the border-crossing experience for goods and people. Efforts have focused on a two-port solution that would redirect commercial traffic to a new facility and dedicate the existing port to pedestrian, car and bus traffic. 

[…] Douglas Mayor Huish was happy to hear the news and said, “We are grateful that Sen. Kelly understands the unique needs of border towns like Douglas, which relies on its port of entry to fuel the local economy. Getting the federal funding for the two-port solution, which includes a new commercial port of entry along with modernization of our existing port, has been our priority for years. We are thankful to Sen. Kelly for championing these critical upgrades in the bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

Guest Column: Yuma Sun: Infrastructure projects are investments in our future – By Gerardo Sanchez, Mayor of San Luis

[…] Thanks to Senator Kelly’s commitment to San Luis and his hard work to secure $3.85 billion for ports of entry in this bipartisan infrastructure bill, our city is now able to fully fund the build out of the San Luis 1 Modernization Project. I am grateful for the leadership of our Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly who delivered on this bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Senator Kelly took a personal interest on this project even before he was sworn into office, making this and other Arizona port of entry projects a personal priority. With more than 2.5 million cars and over 7 million people crossing the border at San Luis, it is hard to imagine another project that can have such a significant impact on our local economy, the binational region and national security.

Infrastructure projects are investments in the future. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will not only upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, it will also ensure that our region remains competitive. Thanks to the work of Senators Sinema and Kelly, this bipartisan infrastructure bill will address the needs of our community and their impact will be felt for generations to come.

Letter: Nogales International: Senate came through on infrastructure – By Jamie Chamberlain, President/Owner of Chamberlain Distributing Inc.; Chair, Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority

Sen. Kelly understands that our ports of entry are critical for national security, trade, tourism and the economy in general. It is why he visited Nogales and toured the Mariposa Port of Entry with me last month to see first-hand the need for upgrades to this critical economic driver.

Last year, despite the supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mariposa port processed over 352,000 northbound trucks, representing close to $26 billion in trade. This year, Nogales is once again on track to set another record in the number of trucks that cross the border. Combined with the 10 million people that cross the border at Nogales, it is clear that investing in our ports of entry is investing in the future of our nation.

The work of Sen. Kelly on advancing our infrastructure needs gives Nogales and Santa Cruz County great optimism for the future of our binational region. His personal interest and attention to our infrastructure needs helps us prepare for the future, create new jobs and attract new investment.