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New House Appropriations Bill Includes Funding for Ports of Entry


7/15/2020

The Committee on Appropriations in the US House of Representatives last week approved the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Subcommittee Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2021.  The bill currently includes $2.8 billion, which is about 5 to 6 times the amount that is typically included for border stations and port of entry projects.  Should these amounts remain in the final budget, it offers a possible opportunity for several port of entry projects to be funded in both the southern and northern borders.  Considering the San Luis I  project remains a national priority, this presents a possible opportunity to secure the balance of the funding required for the full build out.

The Fiscal Year 2020 Budget included $152.4 million for phase one of the project.  An additional $90 million is required for the General Services Administration to be able to undertake the full build out of the project.  Securing the funding will offer cost savings over stand alone phases and help address the long-term issues that afflict the current port: congestion, facilities that are not optimal to ensure the safety of Customs and Border Protection personnel or the traveling public, and a foot print that is simply too small for the current and future needs of the port.


 
We strongly encourage supporters of the project to reach out to the Arizona Congressional Delegation to ensure that the additional $90 million needed is included in the final spending bill.

Further information on the Appropriations Bill can be found below.


 

City Requests Congressional Support to Fully Fund Port of Entry Project


7/16/2020

On behalf of the City of San Luis, Mayor Gerardo Sanchez sent letters to the entire Arizona Congressional Delegation requesting their support for the balance of the funding needed to pay for the full build out of the San Luis I Modernization Project.  Broad local and regional support, as well as the Arizona Congressional Delegation's unanimous support was instrumental in obtaining the initial portion of the funding last year. 

"The situation at the San Luis I Port of Entry is untenable, and the long-term solution is urgently needed. This investment would lead to increased trade, job growth, and strengthened safety for our resident and the entire region," wrote Mayor Sanchez. 

A copy of the letter can be found here


Kirkpatrick Reaffirms Support for San Luis I Port of Entry Project


7/17/2020

In response to a recent letter by the City of San Luis (see item above) requesting congressional support to fully fund the port of entry project, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick wrote a response re-affirming her support to secure the $90 million needed for the full project build out in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget.

"There are no guarantees during this [appropriations process], but I believe we are well-positioned to secure this funding, and I will continue leveraging my position on the Appropriations Committee to see our goal reached," wrote Kirkpatrick.

Congresswoman Kirkpatrick serves on the House Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Subcommittee which has jurisdiction over funding for port of entry projects at our nation's borders. 

A copy of the full letter can be found here


GSA Hosts Virtual Public Meeting on San Luis I POE Modernization 


7/14/2020

The General Services Administration (GSA) held a virtual public meeting to provide an opportunity for the public to review and provide further input on the "Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement" (EIS) for the modernization of the San Luis I port of entry.  During the public outreach efforts last year, the recommendation to include a new vehicular southbound alternative was proposed and GSA had to update the EIS for the project.  GSA revised the document to incorporate an Outbound Exit Alternative in the conceptual designs for southbound traffic to be routed directly from Archibald Street (through former Friendship Park) crossing the border connecting to Avenida Morelos on the San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora side.

The City and regional partners continue to work with their counterparts in San Luis Rio Colorado and the state of Sonora to ensure the alternate option for an Outbound Exit is feasible.

 

During the meeting, GSA confirmed that the port facilities are deteriorated, that traffic congestion continues to worsen, and the modernization will improve the safety, security, and operations of the port. 

All interested parties and stakeholders can provide comments on the GSA's Revised Draft EIS by selecting this link and providing their comments directly to GSA.

Mexican Federal Agencies Approve San Luis Rio Colorado I Conceptual Design


7/03/2020

After months of work that included the City of San Luis, the Municipality of San Luis Rio Colorado, a design consultant for the Municipality, Alberto Morales, the Arizona Department of Transportation, and the Sonora Department of Infrastructure and Urban Development (SIDUR), a new conceptual design for the modernization of the Mexican customs and immigration inspection facilities in downtown San Luis Rio Colorado were completed.  This new concept required the approval of multiple Mexican federal agencies in order for the project to proceed to next steps. At the request of the Municipality and SIDUR, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico (SRE) hosted an Inter-Secretarial Meeting of the relevant federal agencies to review the proposed design.  As a result of the Inter-Secretarial Meeting, the conceptual design has received unanimous approval by Mexican federal authorities. This helps advance the project so that funds can be secured to pay for the construction phase of the project and to ensure the binational coordination for the realignment of southbound traffic to proceed straight from Archibald Avenue to Avenida Morelos, offering great gains in traffic congestion, improving the safety of pedestrians and expanding the footprint of the port.  Another significant aspect of the new designs is that it would reconfigure traffic exiting southbound by using vehicular and pedestrian underpasses at Mexican Highway 2.




Representatives from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), the Institute for the Administration of National Assets (INBDAABIN), the Tax Administration Service/Mexican Customs (SAT/Aduanas), the Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT), the Agricultural Safety Service (SENASICA), the Ministry of Treasury (Hacienda), the Sonora Department of Infrastructure and Urban Development (SIDUR), and the Municipality of San Luis Rio Colorado were in attendance.

City Sends Letter to Sinema on COVID-19 and Infrastructure Needs


6/23/2020

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, during an event with the Rural Transportation Advisory Council, requested that the City of San Luis provide information on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on transportation infrastructure in the community.  To that end, Mayor Gerardo Sanchez sent a letter to the Senator that included information on the pandemic's negative impact on city sales tax revenues and the urgent need to fund critical transportation infrastructure projects.   Current funding priorities for the city include the full funding for the modernization of San Luis I and the expansion of Cesar Chavez Boulevard to help address the congestion issues impacting east-west connectivity in the community.


"For the City of San Luis, transportation infrastructure and the pandemic have been intrinsically interconnected...  investing in our infrastructure is critical," wrote Mayor Sanchez.

A copy of the full letter can be found here


Discussion on Cross-Border Opportunities with GYPA Board of Directors


5/28/2020

At the request of Chairman Matias Rosales, Ramirez Advisors provided an update before the Greater Yuma Port Authority (GYPA) Board of Directors.  The presentation included an overview of the Mexican economy, political environment, the future of global supply chains and trade, and opportunities for future investment and growth in the San Luis-Yuma region.

A copy of the presentation can be found here.


GSA Modifies Proposal for Truck Inspection Facilities at San Luis II


5/15/2020

After extensive public feedback, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced modifications to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed construction of a new truck and bus inspection facility for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) at the San Luis II commercial port of entry.  The proposal would have resulted in stand alone facilities for FMCSA, adding to the congestion at the port and creating a redundant safety inspection process for all trucks entering at San Luis and other locations of the Arizona border with Mexico.  The proposal would have been a set back to the efforts by ADOT and industry to help create a more efficient safety inspection process that is heavy on prevention and training to enhance safety on Arizona roads.  The revised proposal now reflects the intent to pursue a co-located option using state-owned facilities operated by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).  Co-locating allows for cost-savings, increased efficiency, and builds on the partnership between ADOT and FMCSA in conducting joint inspections.



A copy of the announcement can be found here.

Further information on the project and the revised EIS can be found here

City leadership, industry stakeholders, and Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally advocated against the original proposal which sought to build separate facilities.

Cross-Border Travel Restrictions


Effective March 21, 2020, and in a conscious effort to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the governments of the United States and Mexico, as well as Canada, imposed cross-border travel restrictions mandating that only essential travel would be permitted to cross.  The three governments recently announced that these restrictions would continue through August 20.  There is further speculation that these restrictions could continue after August should the COVID-19 virus continue to spread.

For a full list of activities deemed essential, please visit: mx.usembassy.gov.  US citizens who are currently abroad will be allowed entry into the United State but are encouraged to return to the US. Authorities are requiring all travelers reconsider their travel plans to verify that they are indeed essential.


 
For updates on travel restrictions, please enroll in the US State Department's Smart Trusted Traveler Enrollment Program by visiting step.state.gov

Border Crossing Volumes at San Luis


The San Luis port of entry system remains one of the busiest ports on the entire US-Mexico border.  Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic has had severe impacts on the movement of people across the border.  The US Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics recently released the northbound border crossing volumes through May of this year.  Since the implementation of the border crossing restrictions to essential travel only, we have seen significant drops in most border crossing modes.  The data indicates that the most severe impact occurred in the month of April, but we are encouraged that the volumes for the month of May are demonstrating a slight recovery - with the hopes that June will continue to show a slight improvement.

Due to the cross-border restrictions on trade, only medical and food-related shipments were able to continue crossing the border undeterred.  This meant that several key sectors went on stand-by, including automotive, aerospace, mining and more.  With extensive push from key industry groups and after weeks of negotiations between the governments of Mexico and the United States, these sectors have started a gradual reopening process. 

But San Luis has continued to see stellar growth in truck traffic.  While there have been drops in volumes for the month of April and May, truck traffic in San Luis was up by 11.3% for the period January through May compared to 2019.  While close to 66% of Sonora's manufacturing capacity was shut down, the Yuma agricultural sector and food-packaging facilities in San Luis R.C. continued operations.



With the gradual reactivation of the North American supply chain, we are hopeful that the rest of the year will continue the positive trajectory in truck traffic.  We don't anticipate any substantial move on the volumes of people crossing the border until the border crossing restrictions are lifted. 

USMCA Enters Into Force


On July 1, 2020, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  After more than 25 years, in an unprecedented period of growth in trilateral trade and competitiveness for North America vis a vis the rest of the world, the USMCA sets forth an updated and enhanced relationship for trade and investment between the three signatory countries.  With ten new chapters, the USMCA includes entire sections dedicated to the new economy, including digital trade, competitiveness, anticorruption, labor and the environment.  There are entire chapters dedicated to the promotion of small and medium size business and equal treatment for companies of the three signatory countries to pursue government procurement opportunities.  

The COVID-19 global pandemic has, in a matter of weeks or a few months, forced the analysis and transition from distant supply chains, to the urgent need to diversify and shorten them.  One obvious outcome is the decision by many multinational companies to move manufacturing out of Chine and, with the USMCA in force, relocate those operations to North America.  With state of the art ports of entry, innovative approaches to truck safety and cargo security inspection procedures, the Arizona border region offers a highly competitive location for these operations.
 
The City of San Luis, the Greater Yuma Port Authority, the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, and other stakeholders across Arizona have been steadfast advocates for the approval and implementation of the USMCA.  Congratulations to all who fought for this to happen.

San Luis-Yuma Stakeholder Calls on COVID-19


As part of ongoing efforts to respond to the impacts of COVID-19, leaders and stakeholders from the San Luis-Yuma area have been holding weekly conference calls to coordinate efforts, resources and to ensure the continual flow of information. 

Representatives from City of San Luis, City of Yuma, City of Somerton, Town of Wellton, Yuma County, the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, the Greater Yuma Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Yuma Port Authority and several other entities regularly participate in these calls.

Please visit the Greater Yuma Economic Resource Portal for further information and resources.


COVID-19 Resources


On June 17, the City of San Luis issued a proclamation requiring the use of face coverings in public spaces as part of the ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Governor Doug Ducey and the City of San Luis encourage Arizonans to follow public health guidelines and #MaskUpAZ.  

These are unprecedented times requiring individual actions as much as adhering to directives from elected officials.  In order to defeat this deadly virus, there are a number of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Arizona Department of Health Services that everyone can follow - the information can be found by turning to the following resources:

 

A copy of the full text of the proclamation by the City of San Luis can be found here.

Governor Doug Ducey and the State of Arizona hav established a fund where everyone can donate to help pay for efforts to combat this disease.  To donate to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund, please click here

 



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