/ Modified jul 19, 2016 3:53 p.m.

US Customs Taking Donations to Keep Ports Running

Municipalities, private businesses can contribute to projects at Arizona border.

MariposaPortCBP4 produce-spotlight Produce inspected at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Az. (2015)
Fernanda Echavarri, AZPM

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Federal funding limits have pinched ports of entry on the Arizona­-Mexico border, but now, private and local governmental funding can be used to help pay costs of running the ports, which are critical for commerce.

Customs and Border Protection officials have said the agency can’t keep up with new or additional ports of entry needs, saying the “to do” list is staggering.

A new idea called the Donation Acceptance Program is a way for local governments and businesses that rely on those ports to chip in for operating and expansion costs.

”Whether it’s local communities or the private sector to make improvements at that port of entry," said Garrick Taylor of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He said Arizona’s ports of entry were doing the job before the North American Free Trade Agreement and before 9/11, but not for today’s increased commercial traffic.

"These outmoded ports are leading to backups of legitimate trade and travel, so we have to look at new and creative ways to finance the improvements, to facilitate the trade and increase the security,” Taylor said.

He said the small­-scale contributions are for land, port of entry construction, operations and maintenance. He says private funding can speed up projects.

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