Congressman Cuellar discusses plans to improve bridge wait times

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - As thousands of trucks continue to feel the weight of the wait times at our ports of entry, Congressman Henry Cuellar has proposed five solutions to speed things up at our bridges.

A sea of trucks lined up at the World Trade Bridge as far as the eye can see waiting patiently to enter the country.

International Bank of Commerce Executive Vice President Gerry Schwebel says this is the most important port and when they pull manpower away, it creates long lines at the border which has an impact on our economy.

The wait time for drivers coming in from Mexico to the World Trade Bridge has grown significantly in the last few days.

Schwebel says when the government reacts to a situation, rather than making a plan it creates a domino effect.

Schwebel says “We happen to rely very heavily on this activity, our bridge tolls and our ability of our international trade services sector to work and be able to have a strong economy that we're having but at the end of the day, you slow down or interrupt that process. It will be only a matter of time where at the local level we'll begin to see a negative economic impact."

Since the influx of migrants, and the reassignment of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, the wait time has grown to nearly 10 hours.

The solution is to bring our agents back.

Congressman Cuellar says this weekend they will bring back hundreds of people from other parts of the country and send them to McAllen and by Monday these folks will be handling trade again.

Schwebel says Customs Brokers and International Trade officials have been working diligently with state and local officials such as Congressman Cuellar to fix the issues at the border.

He adds that hopefully one of those ideas may trigger a positive response and a better solution.

Cuellar says next weekend they will be doing a similar trade off, but it will be an additional125 officers coming back to Laredo.

Congressman Cuellar has also proposed bringing in retired CBP officers, Coast Guard, FEMA Works and private contractors to help bring bridge times down.