(Reynolds Hutchins – Journal of commerce)
A newly introduced U.S. House bill would allow shippers to pay for additional Customs staffing and extended gate times at the entire U.S.-Mexico border, and not just at ports of entry in Texas as they can now.
The new legislation — introduced by Texas lawmakers Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar — comes at a time when cross-border cargo traffic is growing at a healthy clip, largely because of increased U.S. imports of Mexican goods. Last year alone, the number of trucks crossing the U.S.-Mexican border rose 4.2 percent year-over-year to 5.4 million trucks, according to U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics data. Since the end of the recession in 2009, truck traffic between the U.S. and Mexico has increased 26.6 percent.
Typically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection can only accept funding from the federal government. But the latest legislation would allow more cities and private companies to pay the agency for overtime and additional staffing when demand is particularly high. Like the existing pilot, which the legislation would expand, individual parties would pay Customs for services rendered, then that money would be reimbursed through the federal government. Click here to read more.