Ranking Member Carson's opening statement at hearing: “Border Station Construction: Minimizing Costs and Leveraging Private Dollars"
the Honorable Andrè Carson
Ranking Member , Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
“Border Station Construction: Minimizing Costs and Leveraging Private Dollars”
May 18, 2016
Good morning. I’d like to thank Chairman Barletta for holding this important hearing. I’d also like to welcome each of our witnesses.
The General Services Administration (GSA) serves an important role as the property and construction manager for the federal government. Today’s hearing rightly focuses on how GSA can continue to effectively manage the Land Ports of Entry Construction program.
GSA owns and manages all of the largest land ports of entry along the southern border. , Each day, nearly $2 billion in trade movesthrough the border crossings, plus 350,000 vehicles, 135,000 pedestrians, and 30,000 trucks. Since the passage of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 22 years ago, trade over our northern and southern borders has accelerated and is nearly four times what it was in the 1990s.
Today, we will learn how GSA is improving the infrastructure at land ports of entries and how they can facilitate more efficient and secure crossings between the United States, Canada and Mexico. .
We will also hear from GSA and U.S. Border and Customs Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security abouthow they are implementing a 2013 pilot program that allows for donations of real estate, services and money to upgrade ports of entry. I’m very interested in learning how the federal government is leveraging these donations.
I would like to thank GSA’s Deputy Commissioner Michael Gelber for joining us today to outline the agency’s role in maintaining and constructing land ports of entries. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency often has the largest federal agency presence at land ports of entry and border stations, so I am pleased that they are also testifying today.
Lastly, we have two organizations representing private sector organizations. I would like to thank them for coming in today and giving us their perspective on working with GSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on how to improve land ports of entry.