Kudos to Congressman O'Rourke and friends - the City of El Paso can now legally give more of your money to the federal government to waste.
I get what O'Rourke wanted to do here - reduce wait times at the free bridge. Too bad he doesn't have the right answer. At least he's trying - Reyes never even put a second of thought into it.
Lots of people think that the wait time are a staffing issue - they're right and they are wrong. More staff would make things go faster. However, there is a strategy to the limited lanes at the free bridge. I have heard from more than a few Customs and Border Patrol folks who have told me that the wait times serve a crime fighting purpose and will not change. They also will not explain exactly what their strategy is, but there is one.
The city has pledged $2.1 million dollars in funding for more bridge staff. They are patiently waiting for the public sector to follow. They will be waiting an awful long time for that to happen. One business insider in El Paso sent me an email that said "businessmen are smarter than government - you're about to see the proof here."
The businesses that benefit from Juarez shoppers are not local businesses. They come for the major chains. No major chain is going to give more money to the government with the promise they'll move shoppers over the border faster. First of all, they don't trust the government. Second of all, the shoppers seem to be filling the stores just fine right now.
The Customs and Border Patrol folks will gladly take El Paso's $2.1 million dollars, but they will do with it what they please. They are under no obligation to take orders from a local government even if that local government is giving them money. Insiders have told me that the $2.1 million may not even be spent in El Paso and it surely won't be spent on staffing. One GAO guy I know in West Texas told me to expect to see nice new refrigerators in the break room and new trucks for the big wigs in the field. He reiterated that no local government will dictate how they spend their money.
Private sector folks are smart enough to know that their money won't go to staffing. They've given their hard earned dollars to government all of their lives and they know they have no control over how it is wasted. They aren't going to offer up more money for the government to waste when there is no penalty under the law for not doing so.
Bottom line - this expenditure of your tax dollars benefits people in Mexico who do not pay taxes in America. Why doesn't Juarez put up the cash so their citizens can get to El Paso faster? Hell, they won't even build their side of the bridge down there in valley.
Don't be surprised when bridge times remain the same and the city council turns that $2.1 million into $21 million because no business wants to pay up. The federal government is smart enough to let the problem remain for a few years until El Paso starts giving some serious money. Their excuse will always sound the same "well, if we had just a few million more, we could hire more agents." They'll play that card until the City of El Paso is forking over $100 million a year in your tax dollars so that some folks in Juarez can spend more money at Wal-Mart (not a local business - money leaves town).
Hell, the Police and Fire pension are playing you for fools - the Customs and Border Patrol are just following their lead.
You're a bunch of fools, but I love you.