Doan Joins Jackman Ceremony; Continues Push to Improve U.S. Land Ports of Entry
Lurita Alexis Doan
U.S. General Services Administration
Jackman, Maine Land Port of Entry
March 24, 2008
Senator Collins, representatives from Senator Snowe’s office and Congressman Michaud’s office, ladies and gentlemen from both sides of the border … good afternoon!
It is my distinct pleasure to represent President Bush and the General Services Administration on this great day for Jackman, for the United States, and for our great northern neighbor and ally, Canada.
Today … together … we will sink a ceremonial shovel in the earth and mark the beginning of construction for Jackman’s new Land Port of Entry. True, we may not get too deep today. I checked outside, and I’m telling you, the ground is frozen solid! But I know that each of us on the stage is going to shovel with vigor because this is a warm, wonderful beginning for a badly-needed facility that will soon pay tremendous dividends.
Jackman is not our only investment in a land port in Maine. New gateways for trade and travel are also coming to Calais.
Nor are these isolated border construction projects. Rather, GSA has lit a fuse intended to ignite a building boom at land ports along our northern and southern borders. And that means more work for local and small businesses too.
As GSA Administrator, I have made correcting this situation one of my top priorities for 2008. We are well-positioned for the job, since GSA is responsible for building and maintaining the land ports of entry. These critical facilities not only control the flow of legitimate trade and travel, they also provide foreign visitors their first glimpse of our great nation.
I don’t want that view ruined by traffic and exhaust fumes.
I don’t want one more study telling us that the borders are congested.
I, like you, want action.
Five years ago, the President called for our nation to achieve a higher standard: to improve security and facilitate the free flow of legitimate trade and travelers. So my view is that we need to build what we can where we can as fast as we can!
Today represents an important step on our long journey.
Our country is magnificent, as anyone who made the drive along Highway 201 can easily see for themselves. But, our borders are extensive, diverse and difficult to maintain and manage.
That is partly why we could never do this job alone, and why I’m so thankful for our many partners. That certainly includes:
- Senator Susan Collins, whose superb efforts have helped us reach this important day. Senator Collins has been instrumental in helping to secure the necessary funding for this project, but she has also helped keep the lines of communication open among federal, state, local and Canadian officials. Thank you so much, Senator.
- Our key partners also include our colleagues at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and at the Quebec Ministry of Transportation. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen;
- Last but not least, I also want to thank GSA’s New England Regional Administrator, Dennis Smith, and his entire team, and JCN Construction, which will do the actual building.
It’s no news that America’s borders are complex real estate challenges. That is why, during the past 22 months, we’ve been working hard at GSA to:
- Significantly shorten the time it takes to design and build a land port;
- Make the process more transparent, and urge state and local leaders to communicate their practical solutions to relieve congestion directly to GSA;
- And encourage greater participation from the private sector –since infrastructure enhancements are a perfect opportunity for public-private partnerships.
This project meets GSA’s mandate to expand capacity and relieve congestion at critical U.S. Land Ports of Entry. The facility to be built will replace one constructed at a time when capacity was not as great and security challenges not so complex. You have my pledge that we will complete what we have begun today, as quickly as possible, and in superior fashion.
We live in a truly great nation, and Jackman, Maine is going to be a truly great port of entry.
Thank you very much.