U.S.-Mexico Trade:

Survey of U.S. Border Infrastructure Needs

NSIAD-92-56: Published: Nov 27, 1991. Publicly Released: Dec 18, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed current and projected U.S. border infrastructure needs associated with increased U.S.-Mexican trade, focusing on: (1) the U.S. Customs Service's and the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) current and anticipated staffing requirements; (2) the General Service Administration's (GSA) planning for border inspection facilities needs; (3) estimates for border highways and bridge projects and associated costs in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California; and (4) coordination in border management and planning efforts.

GAO found that: (1) Customs and INS required nearly 700 additional inspectors along the U.S.-Mexican border in fiscal year 1990; (2) GSA believes that the major border facilities should be able to accommodate existing levels of traffic and truck traffic increases of up to 100 percent; (3) the four southwest border stations believe that highway projects needed to meet current border traffic levels would cost $2.1 billion, and trade growth of 100 percent would cost an additional $505 million; (4) since effective border operations require the coordination of many entities within the United States and Mexico, a number of parties have identified the need for a comprehensive borderwide management plan; and (5) assuming 100-percent trade growth, Custom's staffing model indicated that the number of inspectors needed for the southwest border would double from 1,464 to 2,928 and the INS model indicated that the number of inspectors needed would increase from 1,052 to 2,103.

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