San Luis, Arizona — In 2015, more than 15.8 million people, 6.2 million cars and 67,000 trucks crossed the border through San Luis Port of Entry in two-way traffic! New investments are planned to help improve the flow of pedestrian traffic at San Luis Port of Entry I. Unprecedented levels of coordination with our regional and binational partners to make sure our issues get the attention they deserve.
For several years the City of San Luis public officials in conjunction with the City of Yuma and Somerton, Yuma County and the Municipality of San Luis Rio Colorado have been working diligently to modernize both ports of entry for the benefit of the residents of San Luis and the entire region. The analysis of the data for the first three months of 2016 indicate that the border crossing numbers for San Luis will grow significantly by year’s end – in a trend that is expected to continue for many years.
The Ports of Entry are a critical component of the Arizona economy as they are a gateway for trade and tourism to and from Mexico. The San Luis Port of Entry I, last upgraded in the 1980’s, is no longer an adequate facility due to the high volume of citizens crossing - more than 7.9 million people crossed in 2015, and double this number when you look at two way traffic. Of those, 5.6 million were cars and 2.3 million on foot. Additionally, 33,712 northbound trucks crossed at San Luis Port of Entry II, or over 67,000 trucks in two-way traffic. And all indications are these numbers will continue to grow. This is why the City of San Luis and its regional partners and various stakeholders, have been incessant in their efforts to promote the modernization of the San Luis Port of Entry I while analyzing the possibility of permitting cars to cross at San Luis Port of Entry II.
In order to make an informed decision as to where is best to allocate funds, the General Services Administration is conducting a Feasibility Study that will look at the San Luis Ports of Entry as a system and assess the impacts of investments in one port will have on the other and vice versa. Initial estimates are that as much as $120 million will be required to make the necessary improvements to San Luis Port of Entry I and to expand San Luis Port of Entry II.
In the mean time, recognizing the current and ongoing congestion at San Luis Port of Entry I, the City has been working closely with the GSA and US Customs and Border Protection, to make significant investments at San Luis Port of Entry I, including a new pedestrian annex that will start construction before the end of the year and will be completed in late 2017.
Additionally, the City of San Luis, in partnership with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the US Federal Highways Administration, invested more than $11 million to alleviate congestion in the downtown area by creating dedicated north and southbound routes for cars that cross the border. In addition, $3 million were spent for the widening of Avenue E connecting San Luis Port of Entry II to SR 195. Furthermore, major investments have been made to improve SR. 95 between San Luis, Somerton and Yuma, creating a more effective and viable commercial, tourism and investment corridor for San Luis. The City is working with ADOT to plan and build the much needed improvements on Juan Sanchez Boulevard.
Finally, the City of San Luis is working hand in hand with the Municipality of San Luis Rio Colorado, ADOT, the Sonoran Department of Infrastructure and Urban Development to make the necessary improvements on the Mexican side of our ports of entry. It is imperative that investments on the Arizona side are matched with the necessary investments on the Mexican side so we do not just move the bottleneck from one location to another. In total, since 2009, more than $179 million worth of infrastructure has been constructed or about to be constructed to make San Luis, Arizona an optimal location for investment, job creation, tourism and trade.
“All of these projects are interconnected and it is necessary for us to keep the big picture in mind as we move forward. Our residents are counting on our commitment to making San Luis the best that it can be,” stated Gerardo Sanchez, Mayor. “Our ports of entry are critical to our economy and to our wellbeing. Great and smart investments have been made, and we are steadfast in our efforts to promote the investments that are still needed,” he added.
“Let’s keep moving forward!”