Sen. John Cornyn named recipient of Friend of the Americas Award by Border Trade Alliance
Photo courtesy Rio Grande Guardian
Sen. Cornyn presented award at event to roll out new public-private partnership legislation
The award is bestowed upon those leaders who are committed to increasing economic and cultural ties across our borders. Past recipients include former Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and Dr. Herminio Blanco, Mexico’s chief negotiator of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The award presentation took place in conjunction with a press conference this afternoon at the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge, where Sen. Cornyn announced his introduction of the Cross-Border Trade Enhancement Act of 2012. The bill seeks to establish a framework for public-private partnerships to supplement Customs and Border Protection staff levels at land border ports of entry and to finance the maintenance and construction of land border ports of entry.
“An examination of Senator Cornyn’s record, which includes the introduction of this important legislation today, makes clear that the country is fortunate to have an individual with his commitment to better borders serving in the United State Senate,” BTA Chairman and Starr-Camargo Bridge Co. President Sam Vale said. “Sen. Cornyn understands that cross-border trade can bring positive economic contributions to our communities, but that we must address some critical challenges in manpower, infrastructure, technology and security in order to realize trade’s full potential and strengthen the U.S.-Mexico and U.S-Canada relationships.”
Regarding Cornyn’s Cross-Border Trade Enhancement Act of 2012, Vale applauded the bill’s introduction, calling it critical to “injecting a needed dose of reality into the debate over border port staff levels and infrastructure.”
“Unless we establish new and innovative ways of financing our borders’ needed manpower and infrastructure, industry and border communities will continue to be frustrated by funding challenges and political wrangling,” Vale said. “We must look at how we can draw upon the creativity and knowhow of the private sector in order to meet these very real challenges that are resulting in long lines of legitimate and trade and travelers waiting to enter U.S. commerce and that create a consistent drag on our economy.”
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