AUSTIN, Texas – The subject of border wait times for commercial trade is discussed in the new interim report from the Texas House Committee on Transportation.

The report says that in 2019 border delays resulted in $68.3 million in economic productivity losses, reducing the gross domestic product (GDP) by $2.3 billion in both the United States and Mexico.

The committee gives a shoutout to the Texas Border Trade Master Plan set up by the Texas Department of Transportation. This plan identifies infrastructure projects needed at the state’s land ports of entry.

This is what the interim report says about Border Wait Times:

Border Wait Times

Texas-Mexico border wait times at the numerous international bridges have continued to be a drag on international trade for decades – and the reasons are complex. According to the TxDOT handouts at the hearing, in 2019 border delays resulted in $68.3 million in economic productivity losses, reducing the gross domestic product (GDP) by $2.3 billion in both countries. This represented a GDP loss of more than $5,000 per minute. 

Moreover, Caroline Mays, TxDOT’s Planning and Modal Programs Director, testified at the hearing and projected the staggering costs of border delays for 2050. If no improvements are made to the fluidity of international commerce between Texas and Mexico, GDP will be reduced by $116 billion in both countries, representing a GDP loss of more than $293,000 per minute.

Working intimately with the Texas Border Trade Advisory Committee, which was created by the Texas legislature in 2001, TxDOT published the Texas-Mexico Border Trade Master Plan (BTMP). The plan is exactly as it sounds, and it is the blueprint for how Texas prepares its international trade systems for the next generation. It is the premiere document addressing how Texas leaders should solve our state’s border infrastructure issues as it relates to international commerce. 

The BTMP identifies current and future transportation needs, challenges and investments needed for moving people and goods across the Texas-Mexico border. It also identifies 661 total, Texas-Mexico border-wide projects, costing a total of $37.4 billion. Below are some quick facts about the BTMP projects and costs:

  • 559 projects in Texas/U.S. totaling $32.7 billion.
  • 102 projects in Mexico, representing $4.7 billion.
  • 193 border crossing projects totaling $6.0 billion.
  • 468 corridor projects representing $31.4 billion of estimated costs. 

The greatest challenge to solving border wait times at our state’s international bridges is funding. The BTMP ranks the economic impact of each project, categorizes projects by purpose, and prioritizes them within three distinct regions in Texas: the El Paso, Laredo and Rio Grande Valley regions. The vast majority of the projects that mitigate border crossing issues and international trade corridor issues are unfunded or partially funded as seen in the chart below:

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