Mexican private company says they're just following orders to charge SENTRI users
Story by Stephanie Sanchez, Reporter - bio | email
San Luis Rio Colorado--A Mexican private company under fire for the construction of controversial toll booths at a local port of entry speaks out.
Cars are now crossing freely through SENTRI lanes in San Luis Rio Colorado.
Recently city council member Leonardo Guillen tore down construction barriers after a public protest over toll booths being built by a private Mexican company who planned to impose a fee on SENTRI lane users.
Enrique Orozco, the general director of construction projects for the International Industrial Park about allegations they were just trying to make a quick buck.
"They broke the law. The Mexican federal government, who ordered us to start construction now has to step in," Orozco said.
Construction of the two toll booths has temporarily halted. Mexican officials from the International Industrial park said they will resume once the federal government and city officials come to an agreement.
Orozco said last year in October during a U.S.-Mexico binational meeting, government officials from both sides of the border agreed on a project that'll help alleviate border traffic congestion.
He said the fees collected from the planned toll booths were going to help pay off the $3 million dollar project planned on the Mexican side.
"About 2 miles of road need to be repaved and that costs money. An Immigration building has to be built and that costs money. A military installation needs to be built and another building for Department of Agriculture. Plus, parking for all theses places need to be done," Orozco said.
Reports say U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the San Luis Port of Entry have plans to create a Ready lane but nothing has been set in stone.
Orozco said politics played a big part in stopping their plan with the Mexican federal government.
"The fact that elections in Mexico are taking place and the mayor of San Luis, Arizona faced a recall during that week....they had to take advantage of these type of problems and quarrels to appear the defenders of the town," Orozco said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the San Luis Port of entry said they obviously have no responsibility of what happens on the Mexican side but say they will try to accommodate those in the SENTRI lane program as much as they can.
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