Monday, August 18, 2008

Crossing Borders Will Cost An Entrance Fee

U.S., Mexican states may charge to cross border
Fri Aug 15, 9:08 PM ET
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. and Mexican states are considering charging a fee for border crossings to raise money for infrastructure improvements that would reduce congestion at border posts, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Friday.
The news came after governors from the 10 border states met with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at the Border Governors Conference in Los Angeles.
"Everyone agrees that we need to expand the pipe ... which means that we can get more people across quicker, more efficiently," Schwarzenegger told reporters at a news conference. "And there is a lack of money right now ... maybe people pay a certain amount to come cross. Let's assume $5. Don't hold me to that but that would then pay the bonds so we can develop infrastructure."
Other options, Schwarzenegger said, include charging to use certain lanes of traffic at the border.
"All of this has to be thought through," he said, referring to such a plan as a "public-private partnership."
Such plans will be critical to making all kinds of infrastructure improvements throughout California in the years to come, Schwarzenegger said, adding that the state would need $500 billion of investment in infrastructure in the next 20 years.
In a joint statement the governors called for a substantial reduction in wait times to cross the border by 2013, and backed a drive by U.S. and Mexican federal agencies for funding to hire more border inspectors.
They also backed measures to curb crime in the borderlands, including human and gun trafficking.

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