Grijalva: Fix Border Infrastructure, Create Jobs

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Congressman Raul Grijalva proposes a jobs bill based on beefing up border infrastructure. His key quote:

Working families can’t get by on tough talk about border fences. American jobs rely on a smart, modern economy with the infrastructure to match. This is a realistic, necessary upgrade to our local and national business model, and there’s no reason to oppose the jobs this would create or the opportunities this would open up. I listened to Southern Arizona when I was writing this bill, and I believe this is the right way forward for our community and our country.

The entire press release:

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva has introduced the Border Infrastructure and Jobs Act of 2011, following listening sessions around Southern Arizona throughout the summer with business and community leaders on how best to improve the local, regional and national economy. A formal rollout press conference is being held Sept. 28 at 10:00 a.m. at Armory Park in Tucson.

Approximately 235,700 jobs in Arizona rely on trade with Mexico. The number is 252,800 in Michigan, 249,000 in Nebraska and 119,000 in Ohio—states that benefit directly from effective transportation and infrastructure at the border. In addition to creating new border commerce opportunities, Grijalva’s bill seeks to ensure these jobs are not lost to transport delays, crumbling infrastructure or a lack of adequate Customs staffing.

http://1.usa.gov/qeWMtd

You can view a one-page summary of the legislation at http://1.usa.gov/oALjql and a more detailed overview at http://1.usa.gov/qeWMtd. Among other features, Grijalva’s bill:

· Establishes the United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Commission (EPC) to strengthen border economic development and commerce
· Establishes a Port Security and Trade Facilitation grant to expand trusted shipper program access to small and medium-sized businesses
· Fully funds the expansion and modernization projects at the San Luis I and Douglas ports of entry
· Adds 500 CBP officers to Arizona’s land ports of entry
· Establishes a Border Small Business Revitalization grant program to stimulate employment opportunities and capital investment in border communities
· Mandates that at least 30 percent of labor for any federal contract or subcontract is performed by a local subcontractor

“Working families can’t get by on tough talk about border fences,” Grijalva said in introducing the bill. “American jobs rely on a smart, modern economy with the infrastructure to match. This is a realistic, necessary upgrade to our local and national business model, and there’s no reason to oppose the jobs this would create or the opportunities this would open up. I listened to Southern Arizona when I was writing this bill, and I believe this is the right way forward for our community and our country.”

Rep. Grijalva wrote to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in June about the economic costs of inadequate ports of entry. The letter quoted a draft 2008 Department of Commerce study that found the following: “Today, border wait times at the five busiest southern border [ports of entry] average over one hour, which result in an average economic output loss of $116 million per minute of delay. In 2008, these delays cost the U.S. economy nearly 26,000 jobs and $6 billion in output, $1.4 billion in wages, and $600 million in tax revenue annually. By 2017, average wait times could increase to nearly 100 minutes, costing U.S. more than 54,000 jobs and $12 billion in output, $3 billion in wages, and $1.2 billion in tax revenue annually. The cumulative loss in output due to border delays over the next ten years is estimated to be $86 billion.”

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