April 19, 2008
My Congressman Jerry Lewis R-CA ,41st District and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee does not seem to realize that by providing funds to be matched by the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, amounts to the "NAFTA Super Highway."
He denies that the federal government is funding the "NAFTA Super Highway" from Mexico City to Canada. However, by funding links of I-69 in each of the above states, Congress has provided funding for the "NAFTA Super Highway" and more, NAFTA Corridors. This appears to be innocent looking except, should one look at what happens, when the expansion of the Panama Canal, now under construction, is put into the equation, the Port of Houston is the beneficiary not Los Angeles/Long Beach or other West Coast Ports, such as, Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.
In future years, this would have a devastating adverse negative impact on the West Coast economies. Ports would shut down, unemployment would soar,commerce would suffer, and our way of life in the U.S. would plummet.
Just as the March and Norton Air force base closings have depressed the economy in the Inland Empire, so would the economies around port cities on the West Coast suffer.
California, Oregon, and Washington State must band together to get recissions on the FY 2008 Federal Transportaction Act Budget regarding the NAFTA Corridors indicated below.
For those who say there is enough commercial shipping traffic traffic from Asia to go around, again, I say they are whistleling "DIXIE, and I know "DIXIE"..., being an African-American born and raised in North Carolina.
Robert E. Fisher, MSW,
Former City of Los Angeles Legislative Analyst/City Rep to the California Coastal Commission 1974-78
cc: Pacific Maritime Assn.
A Message From My Congressman Jerry Lewis:
Mr. Robert E. Fisher
7717 Church Avenue
Highland, CA 92346
Dear Mr. Fisher:
Thank you for writing to me with concerns about the proposed "NAFTA Highway." I appreciate the chance to respond to my constituents on matters of national importance.
Shortly after the approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, a number of Midwest and Southwest states began discussing the possibility of extending Interstate 69 from Indianapolis, Indiana to the Mexican border. The Interstate originates on the Canadian border in Michigan and now terminates in Indianapolis. The main promoters - the states of Indiana and Texas - named their plan the NAFTA Highway and urged federal support as a way to speed goods from Mexico to the nation's interior.
At the request of the states, Congress has allocated funding for the development of Interstate 69 in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. As with all federal highway projects, the states must provide a matching fund and have the chief responsibility for design, land acquisition and construction of the highway. None of the states has progressed to the point of construction of their portion of this highway.
There is no federal plan to create a superhighway from Canada to Mexico, although both Congress and the Administration supported the development of more "goods movement" corridors throughout the nation in the current federal highway authorization bill. I was pleased that the bill included the Alameda Corridor, which aids in the movement of goods from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach through the Inland Empire.
The administration does not have the authority to approve or develop a new trade corridor in the interior of the United States, or waive any restrictions on inspections or standards to facilitate goods movement with Canada and Mexico. Congress retains full control of these matters, and I assure you that no changes will be made without lengthy and detailed hearings. As you may know, the House of Representatives is currently conducting field hearings about the need to strengthen border security, not weaken it. This includes the consideration of any new trade corridors.
Thank you again for contacting me on this issue. I will keep your concerns in mind as we continue to consider legislation to improve our border security.
Member of Congress