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Guerin Updates Border Trade Alliance Conference On Land Port Of Entry Projects

As prepared for delivery.

Remarks by
Bill Guerin
Recovery Program Management Office Executive
U.S. General Services Administration
Border Trade Alliance International Conference
Embassy Suites Convention Center
Washington, DC
April 21, 2009

 

On behalf of Acting Administrator Paul Prouty and all of us at GSA, I am honored and privileged to be here today.

I’d like to recognize the GSA staff joining me:

  • Ralph Scalise, Director, Northern Border Program, and
  • Dan Voll, Deputy Regional Commissioner, and responsible for Southern Border stations in California.

These are exciting times here in Washington, especially around GSA. There is an energy driven by hope and the need for change. There is also a sense of enormity of the challenges ahead.  Fixing our economy will not come quickly, or cheaply.

Nevertheless, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many federal agencies.

For GSA, this means there is an opportunity to address many long-standing infrastructure needs of our real estate portfolio – including Land Port of Entry Projects. 

These projects will help stimulate jobs in the construction and real estate sectors, a key goal of the Recovery Act.

Likewise, a key GSA goal is protecting and improving the value of our assets, prolonging their usefulness and further conserving our country’s resources.

With these projects, we will help stimulate long-term growth in energy-efficient technologies and alternative energy solutions.  GSA will lead the world in green building, demonstrating how government is going green and showing the building community how to go green.

GSA is excited about the administration’s emphasis on energy conservation and using renewable energy.  This fits well with GSA’s efforts to design more sustainable, environmentally responsible projects.

Of course, members of the Border Trade Alliance will be happy to hear that GSA will be spending $300 million in Recovery Act funds on Land Ports of Entry.

Here is a top-line overview of these projects:

$6.3 million – Calais, Maine
The recovery act provides additional funding to cover costs associated with unanticipated site conditions for a $65 million project currently under construction.  The new land port of entry will create a third border crossing in the Calais area.  The project is being coordinated with construction of new a international bridge by the Maine Department of Transportation, to be located south of the existing Calais-ferry point, Calai-Milltown crossing and the Canadian station.  The project will help alleviate traffic congestion that currently exists in the downtown Calais and St. Stephen business districts.  Security will be improved by creating a modern, energy-efficient facility that will enhance inspection by Customs and Border Protection agents.

$750,000 – Madawaska, Maine
The Recovery Act provides additional design funding for a the new energy efficient land port of entry, currently in its design phase.  The new facility will replace an existing one story building with a full basement constructed in 1959.  Located across from Edmunston, New Brunswick, on the St. John’s River and next to the Fraser Paper Company, the new facility will provide this permit port with a full commercial inspection facility.  The proposed facility will meet CBP mission requirements by replacing the functionally obsolete and inefficient facility with nearly 29,000 gross square feet of buildings located on an industrial plateau 3/8 mile west of the existing port.

$40 million – Van Buren, Maine
The Recovery Act provides design and construction funding to complete a new energy efficient Land Port of Entry replacing an existing facility destroyed by a flood.  Instead of spending funds to repair the outdated facility, this situation presents an excellent opportunity to provide CBP with a new, energy efficient, high performance facility with up-to-date technology and expanded capacity.  This will better meet future operational needs at the port. 

$2.5 million – Columbus, New Mexico
The Recovery Act provides additional funding to complete the design of a new energy efficient Land Port of Entry.  The project will replace an existing, obsolete facility with a new, energy efficient facility meeting CBP mission requirements.  Originally, The facility was designated for expansion in its current location, but recent flooding requires relocation of the facility.  The additional funding permits design work to address both flooding and energy requirements.

$199.5 million – Nogales, Arizona
The Recovery Act provides additional design and full construction funding to replace the existing and port of entry with a new, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient facility.  The Mariposa Land Port of Entry is the third busiest land port in the United States.  The existing, outdated and inefficient 35-year-old facility can no longer support CBP enforcement missions and needs.  The new facility will be a zero net energy site through a combination of a photovoltaic installation, solar domestic hot water system, advanced lighting, building automation system with diagnostics, and other systems to assure continued performance.

$21.3 million – Otay Mesa, California
Otay Mesa is one of the ten busiest Land Ports of Entry in the country and the second busiest commercial port on the California/Baja California Border.  It handles the second highest volume of trucks and the third highest dollar volume of trade among all U.S./Mexico land ports.  The Recovery Act provides additional funding to complete site and design for modernization of the facility.  The current facility is obsolete, inefficient, and causes severe traffic back-ups.  The proposed project reconfigures and expands the existing port through purchase of adjacent properties, will modernize the facility to meet CBP mission needs and new energy requirements, and improve air quality.

$30 million – Peace Arch, Blaine, Washington
The Recovery Act provides additional funding to complete construction of a new energy efficient Land Port of Entry that replaces an existing obsolete facility built in 1976.  Peace Arch is the busiest non-commercial land crossing west of Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge.  The footprint will be expanding from three to 12 acres, allowing increases in both primary and secondary inspection to accommodate traffic increases.  Site constraints required acquisition of an adjacent site and construction of an interstate bridge over the site.  Total project cost is $102 million.

One of the exciting aspects of the Recovery Act is the designation of $3 million for apprenticeship programs associated with GSA’s building programs.  These funds will further help to stimulate job growth in project areas.

GSA is moving forward smartly on Recovery Act projects.  In addition, GSA stands ready to assist other federal agencies in meeting the goals of the new legislation. 

For example, Customs and Border Protection recently announced that $720 million of Recovery Act funding will be used to upgrade port facilities.  We are already in discussions with CBP to coordinate our efforts.

You may have seen some local news reports critical of GSA and CPB on its choices of projects.  It is important to recognize that projects were chosen based on speed of delivery and energy savings.  Chosen projects have been designed or are in design with a focus on energy efficiency, they can be developed and awarded quickly, and can be completed before 2015.

GSA will continue to work with our partners and organizations like the Border Trade Alliance to identify additional resources for border projects, reduce time and costs required to deliver projects, and increase the quality and performance of the projects delivered.

GSA is committed to helping facilitate the safe and efficient flow of people and commerce across our borders.  We appreciate the opportunity to participate in forums like this one to share our plans and hear your thoughts.

Thank you.