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Leeds Says Peace Arch Land Port of Entry is a Beacon of Sustainability

As prepared for delivery

Remarks by
Stephen R. Leeds
Senior Counselor to the Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Peace Arch Land Port of Entry Ribbon-cutting
March 23, 2011
Blaine, Wash.

Thank you, George Northcroft, for that generous introduction.  

It is a privilege to be here with you today and an honor to join Congressman Rick Larsen, Mayor Bonnie Onyon, Commissioner Alan Bersin, Deputy Secretary Dave Dye, Terence Dunn, and so many other distinguished civic and business leaders.  

Let me begin by saying that I bring greetings from President Barack Obama.

The U.S. General Services Administration’s mission is to use our expertise to provide innovative solutions for our customers in support of their missions and by so doing, foster an effective, sustainable, and transparent government for the American people.   

We support the Department of Veterans Affairs so that they can support our veterans.  

We provide infrastructure for the Department of Education so that they can educate tomorrow’s leaders.  

We help our government agencies so that they can help our country out-build, out-educate, and out-innovate our competitors.

GSA’s client base is broad.

Our customers range from the federal judiciary to federal agencies to state and local governments, and we’re committed to providing best-value solutions to each of them.
Today, we celebrate one such solution: the Peace Arch Land Port of Entry dedication.  

Land ports of entry are complicated projects, synthesizing many different objectives into one multifunctional structure.  

They are the outward face of our country, welcoming our friends and families, while serving as the guard posts and gateways of our borders.  

They house people – the Customs and Border Protection agents who work long hours protecting our homeland – yet must be effective thruways for cars and trucks, both large and small.  

They must be built to accommodate vehicles yet be manageable on a human scale.

Border crossings bridge countries, link nations, and connect families, friends, and neighbors.

They are the arteries of commerce, the pipelines of tourism, and the first face of a new home.   

They connect us.  

They protect us.  

And they bridge the gaps between us.

The Peace Arch border crossing is no exception.  

Indeed, as one of the main transit points along our shared border, the Peace Arch border station is one of our nation’s most vital assets.  

Combined, the Blaine border crossings are the third busiest on our northern border, and the Peace Arch crossing is a key piece of that. Thousands of our friends use – and will use – this port of entry every year.  

That’s why I’m proud that our team of designers, architects, and engineers has partnered so effectively with CBP, and state and local governments – both U.S. and Canadian – to create the design we honor today.  

The scope of this project is broad.  

It includes expanded building space, new inspection booths for processing traffic, new pedestrian crossings and highway connection points, and the latest in security and antiterrorism enhancements.  

Yet it isn’t simply the size of the project that’s so impressive; it’s the commitment to sustainability that makes this project a gem in our portfolio. The Peace Arch complex uses some of the best principles in sustainable construction and architecture, and is expected to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.  

The project’s green features include a massive green roof that will moderate temperatures, shade the officers, and reduce water run-off.

Importantly, the design of the station reflects a deeper truth that we all know and appreciate: Sustainability is as much about behavior as it is about technology.  

That’s why the campus incentivizes the use of hybrid and electric vehicles by including six new charging stations and providing them with priority parking spaces.  

It’s clear that with the team we developed and the partnerships we deepened, the Peace Arch Land Port of Entry stands and will continue to stand as a beacon of the sustainable, high-tech, interconnected, and globalized future that we will leave to our children.