Two of Minnesota's most traveled border stations are set to get millions of dollars in upgrades thanks to the federal infrastructure deal.
The law includes $3.4 billion for the federal General Services Administration (GSA) to build and modernize 26 land ports on the U.S. borders, which are decades old.
GSA will use about $250 million of that money to upgrade the International Falls and Grand Portage border crossing stations along Minnesota's border with Canada.
“Land ports of entry play a critical role in the success of Minnesota’s economy by facilitating trade and tourism,” U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, in a statement. “This much-needed investment will help boost our supply chain by expanding processing capacity for goods at the International Falls and Grand Portage border stations."
The International Falls port is the busiest port in the state and processes more traffic than it was designed to accommodate. The federal money from the infrastructure deal will pay for upgrades to expand the capacity to process travelers and trade, enhance security and safety and allow federal agencies to "more effectively carry out their missions."
The Grand Portage port will see "the modernization" of the border station, which is nearly 60 years old, including increasing the number of traffic lanes and improving security and screening.
“GSA’s Great Lakes Region is pleased that its two land ports of entry projects in Minnesota will receive much-needed funding and provide good-paying jobs with the bipartisan infrastructure deal,” said Acting GSA Great Lakes Administrator Kim Brown in a news release. “These projects are essential to securing our northern border and ensuring the federal agencies that use these land ports of entry can safely and effectively carry out their missions for our nation.”
These modernization projects at the 26 ports of entry will allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection to "more effectively deploy the latest technology to identify high-risk activity and shipments, combat drug trafficking, and increase operational security," GSA says.
In addition to enhancing U.S. security, GSA says the upgrades will strengthen supply chains and trade, foster economic growth in the surrounding communities, and create roughly 6,000 annual jobs over the eight years nationwide. The projects could incorporate sustainability features aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impact of buildings on the environment.
Minnesota has 10 ports of entry, including eight land ports along the 547 miles Minnesota shares with Canada.