Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will construct a new port and modernize two existing ones in Arizona:
- The Raul Hector Castro Land Port of Entry has connected the people of Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta, Mexico, since 1933. The port processes pedestrians, commercial, and non-commercial traffic. As the second busiest commercial LPOE in Arizona, the port is undersized and struggles to accommodate current commercial traffic volumes.
- The new commercial Douglas Land Port of Entry will permanently relocate commercial inspection operations away from the Castro LPOE allowing the city to redevelop its downtown area to focus on opportunities in the service, hospitality, travel, and tourism industries.
- The San Luis I Land Port of Entry is a critical entry point to the U.S. for migrant workers who provide essential agricultural labor in southern Arizona, a major source of winter produce for Americans. The port experiences high volumes of traffic during peak hours, which can negatively impact commercial activity in downtown San Luis.
In 2019, the Castro LPOE processed about 26,000 trucks, 1.6 million cars, and 833,000 people, making Douglas one of Arizona’s and the region’s principal gateways for trade and tourism with Mexico.
The dedicated commercial port in Douglas will absorb commercial inspection operations from the Castro LPOE and support the transport of automotive, aerospace, farming, electrical, construction, medical, mining, and refined copper wiring goods and products.
As a non-commercial port, the San Luis I LPOE does not play a role in the movement of goods across the border. However, the port is vital to the food industry and related supply chains, as the key regional gateway for essential migrant field laborers. The agricultural sector in Yuma County supplies much of the winter produced consumed in the U.S., making the effective crossing of seasonal agricultural workers crucial to our food supply chain.
Jobs and economic impact
About 70% of the City of Douglas’ retail tax revenue comes from the millions of people who cross through the Castro LPOE annually and collectively spend about $740 million. Nearly 4,000 of them are Agua Prieta residents who cross the port on their commute to work in Douglas and patronize local restaurants, stores, gas stations, and other businesses.
The new planned commercial port in Douglas is spurring the development of a new industrial zone about 4.5 miles west of the Castro LPOE in Cochise County. GSA is working with local governments and planning agencies to develop a new utility corridor running along State Route 80 to the new Douglas LPOE. The corridor will feature the installation of new infrastructure to accommodate commercial vehicles and related commercial activities. The port project will also accelerate the expansion of broadband internet service to the port and the greater Douglas community.
Agriculture is a major economic driver for the City of San Luis’ economy, and is part of Yuma Country’s larger agricultural sector, which collectively grows melons, broccoli, and up to 90% of winter leafy greens U.S. consumers enjoy. San Luis is also a popular local shopping destination. Consumer retail purchases account for 80% of the city’s retail tax revenue, much of it coming from Mexican visitors who shop, and dine at local businesses.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Diverting heavy industrial mining equipment away from low-income residential areas to the dedicated commercial port in Douglas is a small step toward environmental justice and improved air quality. Retail, service, and public administration jobs account for almost 80% of the jobs in Douglas and the two port projects are poised to bolster the city’s efforts to create a thriving downtown economy, strengthen its tourism sector, and become a regional commercial transportation hub.
During San Luis’ peak agricultural season, it’s common to see thousands of people huddled in line to cross through the San Luis I LPOE in the chilly, pre-dawn morning hours. Thousands of migrant field workers travel through the port daily, with commutes exceeding seven or more hours from their homes in Mexico to the fields where they work. Improving efficiency will benefit the quality of life for these essential migrant workers and their families.
Our designs will increase energy and water efficiency (including renewable energy and fossil fuel-free measures), adhere to sustainable design principles, and minimize climate risk liabilities above the minimum performance criteria in a life cycle cost-effective manner.
In San Luis, current evening traffic back-ups for vehicles entering Mexico extend five miles into and beyond downtown San Luis. This idling traffic produces significant carbon emissions. Redesigning the port and working with the federal government of Mexico to potentially realign their port egress will significantly reduce wait times and resulting carbon emissions. Replacing inefficient buildings with new high-performance green buildings will dramatically reduce energy use by at least 30% and therefore avoid the associated greenhouse gas emissions over the future life of the facility.
The Castro LPOE is undersized and lacks the area necessary for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s commercial inspection mission. Because the primary booths are located immediately north of the international boundary, CBP does not have a pre-primary inspection area, limiting their ability to identify vehicles for additional inspection.
The new commercial port will have a dedicated pre-primary inspection area and lane segmentation to distribute flows into the U.S. between general, empty, and Free and Secure Trade or Trusted Traveler shipments.
The San Luis I modernization will replace building systems and provide the infrastructure for CBP to use all of its current inspection technology. The redesigned port improves pedestrian safety and simplifies the path to downtown San Luis, which may persuade more drivers to walk.
We’ve coordinated with the City of Douglas to collaboratively deliver utilities and attract a broadband internet service provider to their small, rural community. The federal project requires broadband support and will improve the Douglas community’s internet service. Industrial warehouses around the existing port can be redeveloped into active, vibrant uses and generate more economic activity downtown.
The local impact of the San Luis port, especially on the economic health and vitality of downtown San Luis is enormous. Current processing time causes traffic to back up for miles and effectively closes downtown during peak commuting hours. Redesigning the port improves local conditions on several levels, including:
- Reducing vehicle and pedestrian conflicts.
- Dispersing vehicle traffic entering the U.S. onto more corridors to open up more streets of downtown to commercial development.
- Directing all pedestrian traffic onto the improved sidewalks of Main Street.