The Calexico West Port of Entry suffered a financial setback as federal money may not come as promised, but local officials still hold on to hope.
Imperial County was expecting millions of dollars to help with the renovations to expand the port of entry.
However, recent news from the appropriations subcommittee did not include funding for the Calexico West Port of Entry.
Imperial County Board of Supervisor Chair John Renison said, “Not the end of the world, because this has not gone to the full appropriations committee nor has it gone to the Senate floor. That’s good news.”
In March, President Obama included $98 million for the facelift of the much congested port of entry. Renison is part of a team from the county that lobbied Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation to get money for the renovation.
“The bad news is that nothing’s going to happen for a couple of months. Congress is going on recess day after tomorrow. They won’t be back until September. They’ll have a brief session and then recess again for the election,” Renison added.
Renison claims they do not want to make decisions until after the election because Congress does not like to pass bills before an election. He said it is a political season and they do not want to take any chances.
One person on the County’s side is Senator Diane Feinstein.
Renison has contacted her and according to Renison, she is willing to make a big push for money to make the renovation happen.
“She is a ranking member of the full appropriations committee which makes it very likely that she’s going to use her weight to make sure this thing does not get pulled and that it’s acted on,” Renison said.
Local officials are hoping that after the election the dust will settle and there will be some better news.
The county released the following statements:
Earlier today Imperial County officials met with congressional staff, local elected officials, members of the local business community, and Imperial County’s Washington representatives to discuss the future of federal funding for the Calexico West Land Port of Entry.
“The Calexico Downtown Port of Entry continues to need rehabilitation and expansion. Calexico and our Valley need this project to be completed. Imperial County will continue to work hard and make every effort to secure this critical infrastructure need”, stated District 1 Supervisor John Renison.
The House of Representatives earlier this month approved $98 million for the Calexico port reconfiguration and expansion project as part of its fiscal year 2015 Financial Services and General Government spending bill (HR 5016). However, the Senate version of the legislation, which was released late last week, did not include funding for the project.
Despite this setback, Imperial County, and other entities throughout the Valley, remain united in our efforts to ensure the expanded port becomes a reality. While we do not anticipate Congress will finalize its budget until sometime later this year, we will continue to highlight the benefits of an expanded port in Calexico. Among other things, the funding will help enhance security, reduce vehicle pollution, and ensure a more efficient border.
We would like to thank Imperial County’s congressional delegation for their hard work and support. Without their valuable contributions and bipartisan efforts, we would not be as close to achieving our funding goal as we are now. We look forward to our continued partnership on this and other key issues for the County.