Legislators push for faster bridges

Congressmen push for shorter bridge wait times

EL PASO, Texas - The U.S. Senator and Congressmen representing El Paso delivered a "State of Congress Address" in the Sun City Friday.

The address mostly focused on the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.

"Our relationship with Mexico is unique, and despite our differences from time to time, we can't get a divorce," Sen. John Cornyn, (R) Texas, said.

El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke spoke about the history of the borderland, speaking out against those who wish to divide the community. O'Rourke instead called for a strengthening of international relationships.

O'Rourke also spoke about the City of El Paso's pilot program for international crossings.  "The pilot program, using city resources to fund CBP officer's overtime, has allowed more people to cross more quickly during business hours. On that count, it's been a success," O'Rourke said.

Cornyn said the federal government has failed to keep up with the infrastructural needs of the international crossings, saying public private partnerships will be needed to streamline crossings until the solution is found at the federal level.

"Six million jobs depend on cross-border trade with Mexico," Cornyn said.

Rep. Will Hurd, (R) Texas District 23, represents a portion of El Paso County in congress. He also spoke about the importance of trade with Mexico, saying "All of us who operate along the border operate the importance of bi-national trade with Mexico. We know this is not two communities, but one community separated by international boundaries."

One of the biggest challenges in passing border legislation, the elected officials said, is the perception of the US Mexico border as a lawless place.

"The border has never been more secure," O'Rourke said.

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