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Border fees, albeit local ones, already exist on the southern border. In Texas, local municipalities charge fees to use bridges that connect Mexico and the U.S.
For Kenn Morris, president of marketing research firm Crossborder Group Inc. in San Diego, the future of the border is in public-private partnerships, unless the government acts to improve ports of entry. For example, a private company operates and builds a port of entry, booths and roads, and charges a fee to recoup investments.
"I think that it’s inevitable that more border regions use those tools and those who don’t want to use it that’s they’re choice, but they shouldn’t take the ability for other regions to at least look at that option," he said. "For those regions that want the ability to charge a fee, we need good analyses to create good policy."
Citing a 2009 University of Texas study, Morris said tolls at the border don’t affect traffic flow negatively, but provide a source of revenue to build more border infrastructure.
At the nation’s busiest border entry at San Ysidro in California, 50,000 vehicles and 25,000 pedestrians go north from Mexico every day. For the past few years, Congress has sent chunks of money to improve the infrastructure. In his last budget, President Barack Obama asked for $226 million to continue the improvements.
In the meantime, people face hours of waiting every day.
"People are tired of waiting," Morris said.
Manuel Valdes can be reached at http://twitter.com/ByManuelValdes
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