New Mexico leading the way on border zone investments and job creation
SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced today the state’s support for efforts by the federal government of Mexico and the United States to prioritize improvements at the Santa Teresa, N.M./San Jeronimo, Chihuahua Port of Entry to streamline international trade and create jobs.
“The State of New Mexico is honored to have a mutually respectful, shared partnership with federal and state leaders in Mexico,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We are working together to improve border trade and invest in this region so we can create jobs and benefit every family that relies on the goods and services that pass through the border zone.”
Gov. Lujan Grisham made her announcement after Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes returned from meetings in Mexico City with Mexican federal officials and representatives from Chihuahua, Mexico, and after President Lopez Obrador and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar announced that Santa Teresa/San Jeronimo will be a strategic border project for both countries.
Keyes was joined by Joseph De La Rosa of the Department of Transportation and Marco Grajeda, executive director of the New Mexico Border Authority. All three have also been involved in the first-ever binational infrastructure task force convened by Ambassador Salazar and have attended the swearing in and inauguration ceremony of Chihuahua Gov. Maria Campos in Sept. 2021.
“The families and businesses along the border will rise and fall together, no matter what side they are on. We all need to pull in the same direction to build a sustainable and dignified border that provides economic security for everyone who lives, works, and depends on the goods and services from these border communities,” Secretary Keyes said.
Mexico Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrand announced Mexico’s commitment to border infrastructure improvements at the Strategic Border Infrastructure Forum in Tijuana, Baja California, along with U.S. Ambassador Salazar.
According to a May 12 release by the Mexican government, Foreign Secretary Ebrard said that the integration between Mexico and the U.S. is underway "thanks to the productive processes and high-level dialogues to streamline our supply chains and production capacity in the pharmaceutical, medical, electromobility, and other sectors."
Mexico has pledged $700 million to projects, including modernization of the San Jerónimo-Santa Teresa crossing and its access roads.
Gov. Lujan Grisham has identified global trade as one of nine target industries that will receive additional state investment as New Mexico works to diversify its economy.
The governor has already allocated funds to boost infrastructure needs along the border with $50 million going towards a Border Highway Connector to boost labor force accessibility, $8 million in water infrastructure, and $20 million to the Doña Ana Jet Port. This is in addition to the federal request her administration submitted for the $170 million expansion at Santa Teresa and the congressional request for a Presidential permit for a rail bypass.
When the State of Texas ordered additional commercial inspections last month, the New Mexico Border Authority worked closely with federal officials to extend the hours at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry so truckers would have an alternative route into the United States.
The Santa Teresa Port of Entry is a primary crossing between the U.S. and Mexico, and the first land port without a bridge structure from the east. Because of this, it serves a critical function for the El Paso and Ciudad Juarez industrial region as the only oversized and overweight port, not limited by space or weight.
Santa Teresa continues to set records in commercial traffic and that is expected to continue increasing, due to consistent heavy congestion in El Paso ports. In the last two years, the port has doubled the number commercial vehicles processed per hour and hit a new record in 2021 by processing more than 150,000 trucks. The port also includes the largest cattle crossing on the southern border, which processes more than 500,000 head of cattle annually.