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GSA, DHS team on border-crossing upgrade

Feb. 18, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
The Convent Ave. bridge at the Laredo border crossing is due for a renovation under a new General Services Administration/Department of Homeland Security project. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Department of Homeland Security and the General Services Administration announced a $61 million plan Feb. 18 to significantly expand and modernize the Laredo, Texas, Land Port of Entry. An estimated 3.5 million privately-owned vehicles cross the border at Laredo per year.

The modernization of one of the busiest land ports of entry includes:

■The renovation of the historic administration building which will improve pedestrian flow through the facility and provide new office space.

■The construction of new bus and vehicle inspection lanes as well as new restrooms and canopies for when buses unload at the facility.

■The renovation of the Convent Ave. bridge, one of two bridges leading into the port of entry.

GSA has been able to kick-start a number of projects after receiving authorization in the full-year appropriations bill passed Jan. 17.The legislation authorized $506 million for new construction and $971 million for renovation and repairs.

The legislation also authorized $155 million to finish the next phase of the consolidation of the Department of Homeland Security on the site of the former St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Washington.

GSA administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a statement the investment in the port of entry will help prevent costly emergency repairs in the future.

“Laredo is a top priority for GSA, and a perfect example of how the agency’s commitment to efficiency and savings serves federal agencies and taxpayers alike,” he said.

DHS deputy secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the modernization project reflects the administration’s efforts to strengthen border security and improve the flow of commerce across the border.

“Over the past five years, DHS has dedicated historic levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border and we will continue to work with our federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as our Mexican partners, to keep our communities safe,” Mayorkas said.

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