During Tuesday’s regular meeting, City Council agreed to once more renew its public-private partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to allow for the reimbursement of additional CBP staffing to reduce wait times at city-managed ports of entry.
The City first approved the Section 560 Annex agreement with CBP in December 2013. The agreement allowed the City to pay for CBP overtime to reduce wait times by staffing all lanes during peak hours.
The program launched in January 2014. In 2015, the City agreed to extend the agreement for one year.
“The P3 program clearly reduces border crossing wait times and is vital to the continued economic integration of our region. By paying for additional CBP staffing to keep all lanes open during peak hours we help bolster international trade and commerce, which creates thousands of jobs in El Paso and throughout the rest of Texas and the United States,” said Mathew McElroy, Director of the City’s International Bridges Department.
The program works by allowing the City to pay for additional CBP service hours through tolls.
Since the program began the City has reimbursed CBP approximately $3.1 million for more than 29,000 hours of service. The additional staffing has reduced border wait times by 15 percent for cargo trucks and 14 percent for personal vehicles at city-owned bridges (Bridge of the Americas is currently ineligible for funding).
The program has helped process the some 750,000 cargo trucks and 12.2 million personal vehicles that crossed between El Paso and Juarez in the last year.