New DOT program to reduce border delays

Freight shippers will experience less delay at US border crossings in California, Texas, and Washington thanks to a Department of Transportation (DOT) effort to prioritize and accelerate projects that ease border congestion, according to Transportation Secretary Mary Peters.

"Congestion at our borders is choking both travelers and commerce with excessive wait times and negatively impacting air quality,” Secretary Peters said. “By prioritizing the projects, we can improve the movement of people and goods across our borders and help to maintain these important economic lifelines.”

She said the projects would receive priority access to discretionary programs, including innovative financing. They also demonstrate the types of innovative solutions needed to immediately and effectively reduce border congestion.

According to other DOT information, the number of truck crossings into the United States from Canada and Mexico was 11.4 million in 2007, 0.3 percent higher than in 2006.

DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), reported that almost 6.6 million truck crossings were into the United States from Canada, down 1.4 percent from 2006, and almost 4.9 million crossings were from Mexico, up 2.6 percent from 2006.

Meanwhile, at the San Diego CA Otay Mesa East Port of Entry, the DOT project will create a new port of entry and a 2.7-mile, four-lane highway that links to the existing California highway system to provide more capacity for traffic through the region.

In Laredo TX the East Loop Bypass Project will build a new rail bridge across the border and new rail bypass around the city, adding rail capacity and improving safety, DOT said.

At the northern border at Blaine WA, the Cascade Gateway Expanded Cross-border Advanced Traveler Information System project proposes to provide real-time border-crossing wait-times and other travel information through a combination of technologies.

DOT said that all projects will explore public-private partnerships, which combine traditional federal and state funds with private-sector expertise. These types of partnerships can reduce project costs, speed project delivery and protect the taxpayer from project risks.

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