We’re hoping the Douglas Port of Entry is on Sen. McSally’s and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s list of resolutions for 2020.
In case you missed it, Arizona’s appointed Senator who faces an election on November 3, announced last week that the San Luis Port of Entry near Yuma has been included in the federal appropriations bill and will receive $152.4 million to “… modernize and expand” the facility. The bill details Uncle Sam’s spending for 2020 and it’s on its way to President Trump’s desk to be signed.
And then there’s Douglas.
Constructed in 1933 and upgraded in 1993, the Raul Hector Castro Port of Entry started a booth replacement and pavement project earlier this month. Much more is needed and government officials at the local, state and national levels have long-recognized that the Douglas port requires significant investment to handle existing and future commercial and civilian traffic.
Discussion of what needs to be done has dragged on for more than a decade. Local officials, notably current Mayor Robert Uribe, have generated excitement with announcements of plans for a dedicated commercial facility and modernization of existing structures that would revitalize downtown Douglas.
No less than four studies have been made since 2007 by federal agencies of what needs to be done at the Port of Entry, with very little to show for that investment.
McSally and Kirkpatrick have both hyped future plans for the port. The Senator cites inclusion of the Douglas facility on the U.S. Border Patrol’s “five-year-plan” as a major accomplishment during her tenure as a congressional Representative.
Yet, other than a minor maintenance project now being completed at the facility, very little is being accomplished toward the goal of modernizing and expanding the Port of Entry in Douglas.
Despite pledges by local and congressional representatives to continue efforts until the project is a reality, very little has been accomplished – especially compared to what’s happening in Yuma . Local interests have failed to align, federal agencies have failed to fully support the project and the private sector has failed to step forward with its commitment.
Unless things change and coordination can be accomplished, modernizing and expanding the Port of Entry in Douglas will be nothing more than a pipe dream.