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Feature 051815 FNS-border

Monday, May 18, 2015

U.S.-Mexico Border Area Infrastructure Projects Get a Boost

Frontera NorteSur

In a recent Tijuana meeting, two U.S.-Mexico border development finance entities approved nearly $25 million for new projects. The Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) and the North American Development Bank (NADB) gave the go ahead for road paving, water, wastewater and energy projects that are expected to benefit 95,000 residents of Baja California, Arizona and Chihuahua.

Consisting of a $16.25 million loan from the San Antonio-based NADB, the biggest project is slated to give a facelift to Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, where plans have been laid to pave more than 34,000 square meters of roads, replace water and wastewater infrastructure, and upgrade public lighting. According to the NADB, $4.1 million of the loan will be spent on new infrastructure and equipment with the remaining monies earmarked for the refinancing of an existing loan from the bank “on more favorable terms.”

Two Arizona border region towns, Nogales and Willcox, were approved for project funds at the Tijuana meeting. The City of Nogales will receive a $500,000 NADB grant to replace a water main and improve service efficiency, while Willcox will be granted $4.62 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funds administered by the NADB for a wastewater treatment project.

In Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez’s South Wastewater Treatment Plant will be the object of an innovative $3.5 million NADB loan for the design, construction and operation of a 1.35 megawatt (MW) cogeneration facility meant to reduce by more than half the annual electricity consumption at the plant, as well improve sludge management at the site.

In addition to approving infrastructure financing for several border communities, the Tijuana meeting considered a proposal to merge the BECC, which certifies projects for NADB funding, into a single institution with the bank.

“First of all, we are pleased that the governments have made very significant progress with the institutional integration of these two entities,” said Maria de los Angeles Gonzalez Miranda, board chair and chief of the Mexican Ministry of Finance’s international affairs unit. “We will continue working to have an agreement on an amended charter in the near future.”

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Reprinted with authorization from Frontera NorteSur, a free, on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news source; translation FNS.  Frontera NorteSur (FNS), Center for Latin American and Border Studies, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

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