Administrator Doan Helps Launch Construction of New Land Port in Calais
U.S. General Services Administration
Calais Groundbreaking Ceremony
April 19, 2008
Thank you very much, Dennis. I am so very delighted to be here today with:
Senator Snowe’s State Director, Gale Kelly,
The mayors of Calais and St Stephens,
And all of you for a very historic event.
This is the first time in our nation’s history that we have four new Land Ports Of Entry – brand new crossing points – all under construction at one time.
They are San Luis II and Donna on our southern border, and Jackman and now Calais here in Maine. Calais is the busiest non-commercial vehicle port in Maine. It’s the second-largest commercial port in Maine. And yet all we need do is look at the commercial traffic backed up over the bridge all the way to St. Stephen to know it’s taken far too long to reach this day.
The good news is that we’re here! One day soon a modern, efficient and secure facility will stand here and draw commercial traffic from ferry point.
GSA has worked closely with our U.S. and Canadian partners at the local, state, provincial, and federal levels to bring us to this special moment. I thank all the U.S. and Canadian officials who have made our partnership so successful.
Our nations have a long history of cooperation, as exemplified by the warm relationship of the people of Calais and St. Stephen. I am very pleased to see Mayor Cassidy and Mayor Gillmor again.
Indeed, while we have much to celebrate, we have many others to thank as well. That includes:
Our GSA team, led by Regional Administrator Dennis Smith and Assistant Regional Administrator Glenn Rotondo.
Senator Snowe and Senator Collins;
And let me assure you, when Senator Collins just said how important it was that she and her colleagues were able to secure millions in funding—do not underestimate how hard that is to do in Washington. So, if you want to really know who to thank, just look behind me on this stage, and you have your answer.
Thank you all. You’ve done a tremendous job and you have my sincere gratitude. You also have my pledge that GSA’s work on our borders does not end here.
Rather, GSA has firmly grasped the leadership role in building additional infrastructure at our land ports. GSA is igniting a building boom at land ports across the nation, building what we can, where we can, as fast as we can. We need more inspection booths, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure to meet demands from legitimate trade and travelers who are too often caught in long lines.
Some may be thinking, noble concept, but where are they going to get the money? Public funding is important, but it’s not everything. The private sector and some entrepreneurial city officials have recently advanced some very innovative solutions for building new capacity with private funds. Good ideas need to be encouraged, and I believe that we should encourage private investment. Once we open our minds to all the possibilities, it becomes clear that the great challenge is not funding, but making sure it is all spent wisely.
Expect GSA to push this issue with even greater urgency -- not tomorrow, but today. We will build on the excellent start already made in places like Calais and Jackman. Our focus will be to identify, approve and begin construction on a number of projects, both large and small, at every single land port where traffic is stalled.
Calais and her sister cities that serve as the gateways to our great nation deserve nothing less.
Thank you very much.