Udall, Heinrich Announce Funds to Develop Infrastructure Improvements In Southwest New Mexico Near Columbus Port of Entry

WASHINGTON D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (NM-D) and Martin Heinrich (NM-D) announced a $500,000 economic development grant for infrastructure improvements on a key state highway connecting Southwest New Mexico to the Mexican border. The grant funds a study to determine ways to upgrade a 36-mile stretch along State Highway 11 that leads to the Columbus Port of Entry, a major entryway for goods, commerce, and commuters. The results of the study will be used to improve security, encourage trade and tourism, and create jobs in Southern New Mexico by facilitating greater transportation and upgrading outdated infrastructure.

In 2015, Udall, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Heinrich secured $85.6 million to construct a new Columbus Port of Entry in Columbus, New Mexico, to improve the border crossing facilities and accommodate increased car, commercial and pedestrian traffic at the entry. The port is an active center of trade, with daily truckloads of agricultural products crossing from Mexico to processing plants in New Mexico.

“This study will help us identify the best way to improve infrastructure along the southern border in New Mexico, to make our state safer and our border area more economically vibrant,” said Udall. “The Columbus Port of Entry is already incredibly important to trade, economic development and security for our nation and the nearby community, and investing in the infrastructure surrounding it is vital to making it as efficient as possible. After helping secure the $85.6 million for a new port facility in Columbus, I'm pleased to see additional funds go to these smart developments in Southwest New Mexico to leverage that investment and boost trade and tourism, create jobs, and maintain our strong economic ties to Mexico.”

“Our state's border region is a bright spot in our economy,” said Heinrich. “The Columbus Port of Entry has played a vital role in Southwest New Mexico’s economy and security. It is incredibly important to invest in improving and updating infrastructure along the border that will ultimately help improve security and lead to more efficient trade, while creating high quality jobs.”

The grant has been awarded to the Village of Columbus and Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.