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FHWA 21-08Contact: Nancy Singer
Friday, September 19, 2008Tel.: (202) 366-0660

U.S. Department of Transportation Identifies Critical Border Congestion Relief Projects

WASHINGTON - Drivers and freight shippers will experience less delay at U.S. border crossings in California, Texas and Washington thanks to a U.S. Department of Transportation effort to prioritize and accelerate projects that ease border congestion, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters announced today.

"Congestion at our borders is choking both travelers and commerce with excessive wait times and negatively impacting air quality," Secretary Peters said. "By prioritizing the projects, we can improve the movement of people and goods across our borders and help to maintain these important economic lifelines."

Secretary Peters added that the projects would receive priority access to discretionary programs, including innovative financing. They also demonstrate the types of innovative solutions needed to immediately and effectively reduce border congestion.

At the southern border, San Diego's Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project will create a new port of entry and a 2.7-mile, four-lane highway that links to the existing California highway system to provide more capacity for traffic through the region.

In Laredo, Texas, the East Loop Bypass Project will build a new rail bridge across the border and new rail bypass around the city, adding rail capacity and improving safety.

At the northern border, in Blaine, Wash., the Cascade Gateway Expanded Cross-border Advanced Traveler Information System project proposes to provide real-time border-crossing wait-times and other travel information through a combination of technologies.

All projects will explore public-private partnerships, which combine traditional federal and state funds with private-sector expertise. These types of partnerships can reduce project costs, speed project delivery and protect the taxpayer from project risks.

"These innovative projects will bring together public-private partnerships to advance the objective of a more efficient and reliable transportation system," said Federal Highway Administrator Thomas J. Madison.

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