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Major port expansion at Santa Teresa

Dear Friend,
Economic opportunity in Southern New Mexico is on the verge of a major boost.
I’ve been fighting to invest in the Santa Teresa Port of Entry for more than a decade, recognizing that it’s key to growing our economy and improving border security.
Now, we've notched a major win in that effort: A modernization and expansion feasibility study I funded through Congressionally Directed Spending was just completed. Prepared by Customs and Border Protection and the General Services Administration, this study calls for a massive expansion of Santa Teresa Port of Entry.
I pushed to get this study funded, and pushed to get it concluded quickly, and now I’m pushing to get the next steps started. I hope you’ll take a moment to read the article below in Albuquerque Business First about what comes next and what it means for our state.
When it comes to growing our economy and fighting for New Mexico’s working families, I’m all in and won’t let up.
United States Senator

 ABQ Biz First
By Drew Goretzka – Economic Development Reporter, Albuquerque Business First
May 9, 2024  
In a letter to Washington, a portion of New Mexico’s congressional delegation urged U.S Customs and Border Protection and the General Services Administration to swiftly move forward with a massive expansion to New Mexico’s Santa Teresa border crossing, following a feasibility study updated earlier this week.  
The study, which was originally funded via federal appropriation in 2022, recommended a drastic increase in transportation at the crossing — 14 additional northbound commercial lanes, four additional southbound commercial lanes and 10 additional northbound passenger lanes. In addition, it recommended the construction of three more inspection bays.  
Currently, the crossing has only three northbound commercial lanes, four northbound passenger lanes, one southbound commercial lane and one southbound passenger lane.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-N.M.) signed the letter. In it, the trio pitched the project as a way to both strengthen the country’s supply chain and facilitate economic well-being for both New Mexicans and Americans more broadly.  
“Congress has a strong interest in enabling Santa Teresa to play the role of a keystone port along our southern border,” the letter stated. “As it is already a critical facilitator of international trade with our nation’s largest trading partner.”  
Jerry Pacheco, president of the Border Industrial Association, told Albuquerque Business First the Santa Teresa crossing is becoming more important as Texas continues to enforce stricter enforcement at its busiest ports. The introduction of secondary inspection in cities like El Paso, he said, has and could cause traffic disruptions.  
Therefore, Pacheco believes Santa Teresa is becoming a “reliever route” for trucks coming into the U.S. from Mexico.  
“The [Santa Teresa] port, which was opened in 1993, has only had, really, one expansion,” Pacheco said. “I always say we’re the little port that’s punching above its weight.”  
Increased demand won’t only come from redirected shipments, however. The city’s Borderplex has increasingly made headlines in recent years with multiple companies, both domestic and international, looking to set up shop there.   
Taiwan-based automotive parts manufacturer Hota Industrial Manufacturing, California-based aluminum supplier Coast Aluminum and Ohio-based industrial component manufacturer Monti Inc. have all agreed to set up facilities in the complex in the past year.  
While most attention is paid to Mexican imports into the U.S., Pacheco said those new companies will soon be exporting into its southern neighbor at higher levels. As such, he said the need for more southbound lanes is imminent.  
“We’re already kind of bursting at the seams down here,” Pacheco said. “If we don’t keep expanding the port of entry, modernizing it, we’re going to hit a bottleneck.  
The Santa Teresa expansion supported by Heinrich, Luján and Vasquez still has to clear a number of hurdles before construction begins. Establishing a design, further coordination with Mexican authorities and garnering appropriations are just some of the next steps.  
There is also the question of the 2024 presidential election. It’s unclear what stance on border trade Republican candidate Donald Trump would take if elected in November. Pacheco hopes that no matter who is in office come 2025, Mexican trade is seen as a positive and necessary influence on the American economy.
“I would hope that the adults in the room would say trade with Mexico is key because Mexico is our No. 1 trading partner,” Pacheco said. “Any investment in the border always begets more money for the United States.”