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Trump's infrastructure talk has McSally looking toward border

President Trump's call for Congress to pass a bill to drive $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending has Rep. Martha McSally looking toward the border.

Trump didn't offer specifics during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, but said the effort should leverage federal dollars with state and local spending while "tapping into private-sector investment."

McSally said the details must be worked out between the Senate and White House, but that it opens the door to continuing her efforts to put infrastructure dollars into the ports of entry.

"I have been advocating for the ports of entry to be included, and I've advocated to the vice president, I've advocated to the secretary of Commerce, the former secretary of Homeland Security, the director of OMB (Office of Management and Budget), the secretary of Transportation — anybody who'll listen — that any major visionary infrastructure investment has got to include our ports of entry," she said Wednesday.

The president's call to "rebuild our crumbling infrastructure" could be a tough sell to a deeply divided Congress in a crucial mid-term election year.

The last big infrastructure spending bill, signed by President Barack Obama in December 2015, had several Arizona projects on the list that McSally had pushed for, including Interstate 11; the Sonoran Corridor link between I-10 and I-19; SR189, which links the Mariposa Port of Entry to I-19; and the inclusion of I-19 in the National Highway Freight Network, putting it in line for funding for expansions and upgrades.

"This is an economic issue and it is a security issue, with 90 percent of the opioids and hard drugs coming through our ports of entry," McSally said. "People don't think of ports of entry when they think of infrastructure."

McSally called Trump's State of the Union message "a home run."

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"I thought it was very unifying," she said. "I think it was a great opportunity for him to share a lot of the successes of the last year that don't get reported in the midst of everything else, and how it's impacting peoples' lives."

This story was first published by the Sahuarita Sun.


TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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Shealah Craighead/White House

President Trump delivers Tuesday night's State of the Union message.