Jobs, economic development benefit from traffic increase
PHOENIX – Nearly 8,000 more trucks, 400,000 more passenger vehicles and 900,000 more people entering the U.S. in 2015 through Arizona’s international ports of entry speak to numbers critical to this state’s economy:
• $30 billion in imports and exports passing through Arizona’s ports during the year, including much of the produce consumed in the U.S. during the winter.
• $16.8 billion in Arizona exports to Mexico during 2015.
• 100,000 Arizona jobs supported by trade with Mexico.
• $7.8 million spent daily by those visiting Arizona from Mexico.
“The impact of our ports of entry is far reaching,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “The increase in cross-border traffic is another example of Arizona’s flourishing business climate and growing opportunities for economic development.”
U.S. Department of Transportation figures for northbound traffic at Arizona ports of entry showed commercial trucks up 2.1 percent (388,657 total), passenger vehicles up 4.5 percent (8.9 million total) and people visiting Arizona up 4.1 percent (23.8 million total).
U.S. DOT data show that traffic has increased steadily through the years at ports of entry in Nogales, San Luis, Douglas, Lukeville, Naco and Sasabe:
“This amount of cross-border traffic and the continual upward trend in volume means we must continue to make smart investments at the border and ensure that our ports of entry have the necessary staffing and resources to operate effectively, efficiently and safely,” said John Halikowski, director of the Arizona Department of Transportation. “ADOT is working to improve transportation infrastructure at the border, along with traffic flows, with projects slated for State Route 189 and Interstate 19, and ongoing efforts to study how to build Interstate 11 from Nogales to the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge.”
David Farca, president of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, noted that the figures don’t reflect the fact that ports handle southbound traffic as well.
“In reality, our ports of entry processed close to 800,000 trucks, 17 million cars, 48 million people and 1,600 trains,” Farca said. “The ports of entry that connect Arizona to Mexico are of great significance to our economy.”
Arizona also sees considerable sales tax revenue from people who pass through ports of entry to shop, not only in the border communities but the Tucson and Phoenix areas as well.
“A vibrant business relationship with Mexico is key to the growth of Arizona’s economy,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Our region shares many assets and strengths in areas such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, optics, agriculture and much more. Continuing to link resources and leverage assets such as infrastructure and transportation will diversify our economy and enhance our region’s overall competitive position.”
ADOT, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Arizona Office of Tourism promote trade and quality infrastructure as members of the Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance (azttca.org). The group, which also includes community leaders in transportation and international trade, was created in 2012 to help boost economic development and create jobs.