WASHINGTON D.C. — Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced its selection of the South Texas Consortium Assets (STAC) as one of only five public private partnerships that CBP is rolling out in ports of entry across the country. The Consortium, which represents international bridges in Laredo, Rio Grande City, McAllen, Pharr, and Cameron County, will reimburse CBP to pay for additional staff at those ports of entry. Additional ports of entry in the area from Laredo to Brownsville can join this pilot program.
“Millions of dollars in commerce cross our southern border every day. My hometown of Laredo is the largest inland port of entry in the United States, accounting for 45 percent of all trade with Mexico,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX28). “However, because of recent federal budget cuts, CBP does not have the resources to hire additional staff at ports of entry along the border. Delays due to outdated infrastructure cause the United States to lose $116 million per minute at the five busiest ports along the southern border. These new partnerships are an opportunity for state and local governments and private businesses to step in with support where federal funds fall short. The improvements that CBP will now be able to undertake will streamline security procedures, improve the flow of commerce, and allow us to test a new program that could be part of the cure to costly delays. This announcement is a victory not only for businesses in Laredo and the Valley but for regional cooperation across South Texas. I thank Acting Commissioner Thomas Winkowski and Customs and Border Protection for selecting STAC as one of the pilot programs.”
"The selection of the South Texas Asset Consortium which is comprised of the City of Laredo, Starr-Camargo International Bridge, the City of McAllen, the City of Pharr, and Cameron County, to participate in this pilot program is a recognition of the importance of South Texas ports of entry to the national economy," said Representative Vela. "This new program will reduce wait times and facilitate trade by adding additional staff across South Texas ports of entry and can include all ports of entry between Brownsville and Laredo. This is particularly important given a recent study which concluded that delays on the Southern border could cost the U.S. economy $14.7 billion a year by 2020."