HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Valley International Airport’s proximity to the border is costing it “hundreds of thousands” of dollars a year without reimbursement from the federal government, one federal lawmaker said Thursday.
And that’s costing the flyers coming in and out of Harlingen, who must pay for the increased costs, according to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
The senator says his Border Airport Fairness Act, a bill he proposed Aug. 4, 2022, would help the Harlingen airport by designating it as a port of entry.
“I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation to ensure that our border airports receive the designation they deserve and to ensure they’re spared significant duplicative government costs,” Cruz said Thursday. “As the Commerce Committee constructs the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill this Congress, I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance solutions that level the playing field for airports across the country.”
Cruz is a ranking member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
According to Cruz, user fee airports like the Valley International Airport in Harlingen and Plattsburgh International Airport are the only two primary commercial service airports in close proximity to a U.S. border and land crossing that are not ports of entry and are not international or landing rights airports.
“This designation means that these airports must pay potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to staff the airport with Customs and Border Protection agents,” Cruz’s office stated Thursday. “While these existing airports, and other potential future airports, qualify as ports of entry under the CBP’s criteria through their association with the nearest land border crossing, they have not received this designation—resulting in increased costs for these airports and travelers who fly in and out of these airports.”