SAN LUIS, Ariz. – Funding for modernizing and expanding the U.S. Port of Entry in San Luis could be cut by more than a third under a proposal in the U.S. Senate, the city’s mayor says.
Mayor Gerardo Sanchez says city officials have been able to confirm that the Senate plan would reduce the allocation to $159 million.
“In the last few weeks we have been made aware of that. We know that the House of Representatives is continuing with the original proposal of $248 million, but in the Senate it is $159 million. We would like to know the reason for the difference.”
The reduced funding would force the federal government to scale back a project Sanchez and other city officials say is critical to reducing long traffic backup at the border they say hampers commerce between the Yuma area and Mexico.
The Senate proposal comes after the General Services Administration, the agency that oversees construction and maintenance of federal facilities, identified expansion of the port of entry as a priority and proposed funding the project at the $248 million level.
Sanchez said the city will continue lobbying for the $248 million or at least some compromise between that sum and the amount proposed in the Senate.
The Senate proposal was not the first indication the city received that the $248 million allocation, originally proposed by President Trump, could get reduced.
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, a Tucson Democrat whose district includes San Luis, warned in August that the original funding proposal could get cut by 15% in budget negotiations by the House and Senate. Grijalva favored the originally proposed amount.
“With all that is happening at the federal level, there’s not much attention on the issue of the budget,” Sanchez said. “But we are going to continue forward. If they give us $159 million, we are going to demand that they give us the rest the following year.”