Written by MORGAN LEE, Associated Press
SANTA FE, NM (AP) – New Mexico emphasizes its support for proposals to take the international railroad through its Santa Teresa border crossing, taking advantage of Mexico’s unease over disruptions along the Texas portion of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mexico has been considering a route through Texas, but officials have said in recent days that they can no longer rely on that country. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, demanded in April that all commercial trucks from Mexico undergo additional inspections, which hampered traffic and caused millions in losses.
The administration of Democratic Governor of New Mexico Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Wednesday that it will send a delegation of economic development and transport officials to Mexico City next week to explore ways to expand commercial infrastructure at the San Jeronimo-Santa Teresa crossing, about 20 miles (36 kilometers) ) west of El Paso, Texas.
New Mexico Economic Development Minister Alicia Keyes said the country has already applied for a U.S. presidential permit for a rail bypass through Santa Teresa. In addition, she said a study on infrastructure expansion at the New Mexico gateway is nearing completion.
She said recent disruptions at Texas crossings are changing the outlook for Santa Teresa.
“They have problems with pollution, waiting times and safety,” Keyes said of Texas border entry points. “We have a chance to really imagine what a dignified port of entry would look like.”
Mexican Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier was more determined last week about the fate of the proposed railway line connecting the port on the Pacific coast of Mazatlan in the Mexican state of Sinaloa with the US and Canada.
“I don’t think we’re going to use Texas anymore because we can’t put all our eggs in one basket and be hostages to those who want to use the trade as a political issue,” Clouthier said at a business conference. “We’ll look for another connection point.”
Mexican diplomats continued with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas in Washington on Tuesday and unveiled a railroad line connecting Mexican ports in the Pacific with the San Jeronimo-Santa Teresa crossing in New Mexico.
Some truckers reported waiting more than 30 hours for the crossing during inspections in the state of Texas. Others blocked one of the world’s busiest trade bridges in protest.
Abbott, who is due to be re-elected in November and has made the border a major issue, has completely lifted inspections following agreements with neighboring Mexican states outlining new commitments to border security.
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