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Moving Goods Around the Continent: The Case for Improving Our Border Infrastructure
North America is the only global trading bloc that does not benefit from a dedicated, permanent, independent infrastructure bank to provide intelligence and deep expertise on investments in infrastructure tied to integrated production and supply chains. If we are to remain the most economically competitive region in the world, we need a mechanism to facilitate additional cross-border infrastructure that works.
This is why the George W. Bush Institute’s North America Competitiveness Working Group recommends the creation of a border infrastructure bank to strengthen North American competitiveness.
While the exact benefit that such a bank would produce is impossible to quantify, the fact that our competitors, including the Europeans, not only have such banks but are looking to increase their numbers is a signal of the importance of these institutions. We do know that border crossings generate significant benefits in jobs, wages and economic activity for the communities where they are located, and that delays caused by inadequate infrastructure at our borders lead to significant losses in economic activity for our entire economy.
In North America, our ability to produce goods and services together, and to hold on to or even increase the good jobs tied to this integrated production, is at a competitive disadvantage. If we want to survive more aggressive global competition, we have to invest in our infrastructure both nationally and as a trade bloc, like our competitors do.
With governments in all three jurisdictions looking to massively ramp up infrastructure spending, it is critical at this moment to assure that attention and resources are applied to investing in infrastructure that lets all three countries prosper. We also need to ensure that there is objective forecasting data to enable private capital to invest.
We believe an infrastructure bank focused on cross-border infrastructure is the ideal vehicle to accomplish this. With capitalization from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, all three countries would be facilitating our continental supply chains and ensuring the efficient movement of people and goods in the decades to come.
Laura Collins is the Deputy Director, Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. Collins previously served as the Director of Immigration Policy at the American Action Forum. She has experience in politics, working as a Senior Research Analyst at the Republican National Committee for the 2012 election cycle and in the Texas House of Representatives for the 82nd Legislature. A former practicing attorney, Collins earned a JD from The University of Texas School of Law and a BBA from the University of Oklahoma.Full Bio
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