This is archived information. It may contain outdated contact names, telephone numbers, Web links, or other information. For up-to-date information visit pages by topic or contact our Office of Public Affairs at For a list of public affairs officers by beat, visit the GSA Newsroom.

Federal Government Perspective: Improving Security, Trade, Travel Flows At The Southwest Border Ports Of Entry






NOVEMBER 17, 2021


Good afternoon Chairwoman Sinema, Ranking Member Lankford, and members of the  Subcommittee. My name is Stuart Burns, and I am Assistant Commissioner for Portfolio  Management and Customer Engagement at the U.S. General Services Administration’s  (GSA) Public Buildings Service. Thank you for inviting me to this hearing titled “Federal  

Government Perspective: Improving Security, Trade, and Travel Flows at the Southwest  Border Ports of Entry.” 

GSA’s mission is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology  services to the government and the American people. As part of this mission, GSA has  a close partnership with the Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border  Protection (CBP) and other Federal inspection agencies like the Department of  Agriculture, the Department of Health and Humans Services – Food Drug Administration, and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety  Administration (FMCSA) to meet the Federal Government’s real estate and technology needs along our Nation’s borders. As you know, CBP is our primary partner among the  many Federal inspection agencies stationed along America’s land borders and it is  critical that they have modern facilities to perform their critical mission of safeguarding  our borders, and enhancing the Nation's economic prosperity. 

Investment in new and existing land ports of entry strengthens trade, tourism and  commerce; creates jobs; and bolsters our Nation’s security. As a result, GSA works  closely with our Federal partners and others to deliver these land ports to accomplish  these objectives. 

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

I would like to thank Chairwoman Sinema and other members of the Subcommittee for  their work to include funding for LPOEs in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act  (Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal), which the President signed into law on Monday of this  week. Now that the legislation is enacted, GSA will work with CBP and our other  partners, to construct new and modernize existing LPOEs at dozens of locations on the  northern and southern border. Additionally, GSA will undertake paving projects to  improve road infrastructure within and leading to and from LPOEs, as well as seek to  acquire some privately-owned LPOEs that the government currently leases and bring  them into the Federally-owned inventory. These critical investments will provide  modern and energy efficient facilities for Federal inspection agencies, and benefit our  state, local and private sector partners. The $3.4 billion provided to GSA and $400  million provided to CBP will address critical infrastructure priorities for our country, and  eliminate a substantial backlog of outstanding projects. 

Cost-Effective Project Delivery

GSA is well positioned to undertake and deliver an LPOE program. We have a  consistent track record of delivering capital projects on time and on budget. Our  successes are the result of leveraging project resources and subject matter experts  across GSA, and ensuring the best team is assigned to each project. This approach results in the application of industry best practices in site selection, environmental  analysis, design, construction and delivery of these facilities. This collaborative team  approach has contributed to the success of many projects. 

GSA’s Partnership with CBP

GSA works closely with CBP to design, construct, maintain, and operate land ports of  entry along more than 1,900 miles of border between the United States and Mexico,  and more than 5,500 miles of border between the United States and Canada. 

Safe, secure, and modern land ports along our borders are critical to ensuring an  efficient flow of commerce and people that support jobs and economic growth. 

Of the 167 land ports of entry along the U.S. borders, GSA manages 123, of which the  Government owns 101, leases 19, and partially owns three. GSA’s land ports of entry  serve diverse mission needs at a diverse set of locations that include urban  communities like San Diego, California; El Paso, Texas; and Detroit, Michigan; as well  as remote localities like Douglas, Arizona, Van Buren, Maine and Alcan, Alaska.  

However, the average LPOE in GSA’s portfolio was designed and constructed more  than 40 years ago. As a result, many of these facilities are functionally obsolete for the  21st century. This in turn has a negative effect on American trade, tourism, commerce,  jobs and national security. 

To inform and facilitate investment in LPOEs, GSA coordinates and assists CBP in  evaluating and prioritizing facilities for investment priorities. 

This process has resulted in significant investments in LPOEs at Calexico and San  Ysidro (the Nation’s busiest land port), California; Columbus, New Mexico; Tornillo and  Laredo, Texas; and Alexandria Bay, New York over the last five years.

GSA works closely with CBP to ensure CBP’s priority projects are integrated into GSA’s  larger multiyear priority plan. GSA works with CBP during the annual budget formulation  process to request funding to invest in LPOEs. 

As part of the multi-year plan, GSA consults with CBP and other stakeholder agencies,  such as FMCSA, at the onset of project planning and continue this relationship  throughout project development and execution. An example of this partnership in  practice was the expansion and modernization of the San Ysidro LPOE in California  where GSA incorporated each agencies’ program of requirements into the modernized  facility. Additionally, CBP and GSA are partners in the border master planning process  on the U.S. - Mexico border. In addition to coordination with state and local agencies,  the border master planning process also includes Mexican Federal, state, and local  government entities, as well as other Federal agencies including the Department of  State, Department of Transportation, and, when appropriate, private partners (railroads,  for example). The resulting Border Master Plan is a listing of project priorities that state  and local governments rank regionally and provide guidance to help the Federal  Government rank projects nationally. 

With respect to land ports at the northern border, GSA again works closely with the  Department of State to coordinate with the Canadian government. 

Furthermore, GSA and CBP partner with State and local governments and private  sector entities under the Donation Acceptance Program to improve and expand port of  entry infrastructure and technology.  


Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today about GSA’s ongoing partnership  with CBP and others to deliver modern land ports of entry facilities on the northern and  southern border, and the historic opportunity that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal  presents to bring these critical facilities into the 21st century. I welcome the opportunity to discuss GSA’s commitment to strategic investment in our Nation’s land ports of entry,  and am happy to answer any questions you may have.