Yuma Yes – Douglas No?

A Brief Summary

Photo by Luis Espinoza, Jr. Dec 2018

Douglas Arizona port of entry needs to be expanded to handle increased cross-border commerce.  This takes federal dollars.  For years local, state and our federal officials have said it was a priority.  Nothing much is done.  Now a 2020 appropriations bill has included about 152 million dollars for expansion of - the Yuma port of entry.  Nothing for Douglas.  How come none of our politicians seem to care?

Commentary by Bob Karp

What is a POE?  It is the acronym for Port of Entry.  In LD14 there are two - Naco and Douglas Arizona.  Arizona has several more including the bigger ones in Nogales and Yuma.  There is good news for the Yuma POE - $152.4 million has been appropriated in a 2020 congressional spending bill, passed by both the House and Senate, to modernize and expand the facility.  Good for Yuma!

What about the Douglas POE?  Well, things are about the same as they have always been.  The port, built in 1933 and upgraded in 1993, over a quarter of a century ago, is still waiting for it's extreme makeover.  This isn't just about getting federal dollars.  This is about jobs and the economy for the counties of southeastern Arizona.  How can a port expansion be an economic catalyst?  Studies by various federal agencies since 2007 have indicated that expansion of the Douglas port will help alleviate long wait times for commercial traffic at the Nogales POE.  Right now a significant amount of cross-border commerce, including quite a bit of agricultural goods, that goes through Nogales is diverted from Douglas because the POE cannot handle it.

Based on economic activity at the Nogales and Yuma ports, related businesses are created that handle warehousing, transportation and processing of goods coming in from Mexico.  This growth creates jobs and economic activity for border communities.  Douglas, AZ is losing out on the chance to increase their share of cross-border commerce.  But more traffic through the Douglas POE could lead to future economic growth far from the border.

Expanded commercial traffic needs to go to distribution centers to move the goods throughout the southwestern United States. An inland port, a distribution zone, that handles the unloading of trucks coming across the border, the processing of goods and distribution of them to wholesale shipping operations would need hundreds of thousands square feet of warehouse space as well as hundreds of employees to work there.  The area around Willcox, Arizona is an ideal location for such an inland distribution port.  There is abundant land, close proximity to the I-10 interstate which allows shipping west to urban Arizona, southern California, Nevada.  East and northeast to New Mexico, and western Texas.

An inland port in Willcox would provide jobs for northeastern Cochise county as well as Graham county and even Greenlee county residents.  Over the road distribution isn't going to be outsourced or disappear because of online commerce.

Our LD14 officials as well as federal office holders make noises about supporting the Douglas port - but they don't make it a priority.  I will!

The Herald/Review got this about right.  Read about it here.

Posted in Ideas/Opinion, Issues, News.

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