U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the General Services Administration (GSA), Cameron County, TX, and the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority (CCRMA) announced a formal partnership on a large-scale infrastructure improvement project at the Los Tomates Land Port of Entry (LPOE), better known as the Veterans International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas.
Under CBP’s Donations Acceptance Program, CBP, GSA, Cameron County, and CCRMA will construct four additional personally owned vehicle primary lanes, eight additional secondary inspection bay spaces, and a new head house. The donors will outfit the lanes with the necessary infrastructure and technology. In addition, the existing bus secondary inspection area will be relocated to help achieve faster traffic flow and safer movement through secondary inspection.
“This Donation Acceptance Agreement is another great example of CBP and its federal and local partners working together to enhance America’s economic competitiveness,” said Pete Flores, Executive Assistant Commissioner of the CBP Office of Field Operations. “The addition of four personally owned vehicle lanes, eight additional secondary inspection bays, and other infrastructure improvements at Veterans International Bridge will benefit the economy of the local communities by enhancing the flow of legitimate trade and travel into the United States.”
Cameron County and CCRMA submitted a formal proposal under the Donations Acceptance Program in November of 2016. Recent highway improvements in Matamoros, Mexico connected additional traffic to the LPOE. Cameron County and Mexican officials doubled the number of traffic lanes on both sides of the Veterans International Bridge to address the increased traffic. On an average day in fiscal year 2021, CBP personnel at Veterans International Bridge processed an average of 3,035 vehicles per day, including 655 trucks. This Donations Acceptance Program project will decrease wait times while increasing throughput. The Donations Acceptance Agreement formalizes a project that has been years in the making and allows the parties to move forward with constructing new lanes and related infrastructure.
“When we engage in public private partnerships, the value of the services GSA provides to our customer agencies like CBP increases exponentially,” said Christopher Anzaldua, GSA’s Donations Program Manager in the Greater Southwest Region. “Basically, it’s a win-win scenario that improves operations and timeliness for CBP and provides a path to economic recovery for the local business economy.”
The Veterans International Bridge provides consumers direct access to business and retail establishments on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Infrastructure improvements at the Veterans International Bridge will further benefit the surrounding communities economically.
“In 2016 this multi-jurisdictional proposal of border trade connectivity and infrastructure enhancement was submitted and we are now pleased to announce the large-scale improvements at the Veterans International Bridge, also known as Los Tomates Bridge or the Puente Internacional Ignacio Zaragoza, which unites one of the largest metropolitan areas, the Brownsville and Matamoros US/Mexico border region / area. Thanks to the tremendous collaboration from GSA, CBP, and our CCRMA, vehicle commute time and border trade and crossings will be facilitated through our border thusly boosting our local economy,” stated Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr.
Pursuant to 6 U.S.C. § 301a, and more generally, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, 6 U.S.C. §§ 112 et seq., as amended, CBP and GSA are authorized to accept donations of real property, personal property (including monetary donations) and non-personal services from private sector and government entities. Accepted donations may be used for port of entry construction, alterations, operations, and maintenance activities. Public-private partnerships are a key component of CBP’s Resource Optimization Strategy and allow CBP to provide new or expanded services and infrastructure at domestic ports of entry. For more information, visit www.cbp.gov/DAP.