U.S.-Mexico Trade:

Concerns About the Adequacy of Border Infrastructure

NSIAD-91-228: Published: May 16, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the U.S.-Mexico border infrastructure capacity and trade initiatives between the two countries, focusing on: (1) the process for planning and expanding border inspection facilities; (2) U.S. and Mexican efforts to expedite processing of border commercial traffic; (3) staffing patterns of U.S. agencies involved in inspections along the border; (4) road and highway infrastructure needs at certain major entry ports; and (5) transborder access for commercial trucks.

GAO found that: (1) existing U.S. and Mexican border facilities did not adequately accommodate the flow of commercial traffic; (2) U.S. and Mexican Customs introduced new automated and simplified procedures to speed the flow of commercial traffic, but traffic congestion and delays continued; (3) U.S. inspection agencies along the southwest border lacked adequate staffing levels to handle the existing traffic; (4) Mexico's transportation infrastructure did not adequately accommodate the increased trade of recent years, and budgetary problems limited its infrastructure projects; (5) U.S. officials were concerned about the anticipated budgetary burden of maintaining and upgrading state roads along the border; and (6) reciprocal access for commercial motor carriers remained a major obstacle to normalizing transborder commercial traffic between the United States and Mexico.