Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela (D-TX-34) announced $3.75 billion to fund upgrades for Land Ports of Entry (LPOE). The money, which is included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, allocates $133 million to modernize and expand the Gateway International Bridge located in Brownsville, Texas. Also included in the legislation is funding for cargo lot improvements at the Veterans International Bridge and Free Trade International Bridge located in Brownsville and Los Indios, Texas, respectively.
Funding the modernization and expansion of Gateway International Bridge has been the number one priority for Congressman Vela for years. Since 2015, he has worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. General Services Administration, Cameron County, the City of Brownsville, and Congressional colleagues on a full overhaul of the Gateway Bridge by bringing officials together to coordinate moving the project forward. Congressman Vela has also been a leader in the fight to secure funding for all land ports of entry working closely with House leadership, House Appropriations Committee, House Homeland Security Committee, and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
Additionally, Congressman Vela worked closely with the Biden Administration to include language regarding the need for land port modernization in the President’s Build Back Better proposal. Since January, Vela has worked with the White House and his colleagues in the Senate to include funding for LPOEs in the American Jobs Act proposal and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.
“For years I have worked to ensure that our land ports of entry are equipped and prepared to handle the large flux of trade and commerce at our border. I am proud that years of advocating and working with the Executive Branch, and my colleagues in the House and Senate has paid off with the inclusion of $3.75 billion for land ports of entry. As I prepare to retire from Congress at the end of this term, I look forward to helping get this legislation across the finish line in what will be one of the most consequential votes of my career,” said Congressman Vela. “Modernizing and expanding Brownsville’s Gateway International Port of Entry will not only bring good jobs to local communities and boost the region’s economy, but also strengthen our national security and facilitate trade and travel. Securing this funding has been my top priority while in Congress.”
“Over the last several years I have been working with Congressman Vela in securing funding for the remodernization of the Gateway Bridge port of entry,” said Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr. “There has been no major investment at the Gateway port of entry since the Eisenhower era. I am pleased to know that funding to remodernize the Gateway Bridge is included in the White House/Senate bi partisan infrastructure bill. Major security upgrades will be provided to the Gateway Bridge under this infrastructure bill. Additionally, improvements at the cargo lots at the Veterans Bridge (Los Tomates) and the Free Trade Bridge (Los Indios) are included within the infrastructure bill as well. I urge the Members of the House to ensure the passage of this infrastructure legislation that will bring significant improvements to our ports of entry.“
"The Biden Administration and Congressman Vela's commitment to the RGV has not gone unnoticed,” said Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez. “We appreciate this much needed funding, which will assist with bridge improvements to enhance our ports of entry and ultimately assist the region with additional investment from our neighbors to the South. We would like to thank and commend Congressman Vela for his steadfast leadership on getting this funding approved."
In addition to funding LPOE upgrades, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will:
- Improve healthy, sustainable transportation options for millions of Americans by modernizing and expanding transit and rail networks across the country, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.
- Build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers along highways and in rural and disadvantaged communities.
- Electrify thousands of school and transit buses across the country to reduce harmful emissions and drive domestic manufacturing of zero emission vehicles and components.
- Eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes, delivering clean drinking water to up to ten million American families and more than 400,000 schools and childcare facilities.
- Connect every American to reliable high-speed internet.
- Create a first of its kind Infrastructure Financing Authority that will leverage billions of dollars into clean transportation and clean energy.
- Make the largest investment in addressing legacy pollution in American history, a cleanup effort that will create good-paying union jobs and advance environmental justice.
- Prepare more of our infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyberattacks, and extreme weather events.
Learn more about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act HERE.
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