EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Business leaders are encouraging development around a reconstructed border crossing just east of El Paso.

The El Paso Chamber and several partners including U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, this week toured the port and met in Fabens, Texas, to discuss ways to grow passenger and commercial truck traffic with Mexico.

“We must treat our ports and infrastructure corridors as a cohesive system. That is why (the chamber) is bringing local leaders and stakeholders together to set the conditions for a healthy regional economy,” said chamber President and CEO Andrea Hutchins.

​The Marcelino Serna port of entry is a 117-acre facility built in 2016 to replace the old Fabens port of entry linking Tornillo, Texas, to Guadalupe, Mexico, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The goal was to encourage truck traffic from industrial parks in Juarez, Mexico, to use the port, and to serve commuter passenger traffic from El Paso’s Lower Valley and the suburbs of southeast Juarez.

The tour and meeting focused on promoting the importance of the port in the region’s economy.

CBP data shows the Marcelino Serna and the nearby Fort Hancock ports of entry processed more than 24,000 pedestrians and 366,000 arriving vehicles in 2020 – a 20 percent decline over 2019 attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Marcelino Serna Port of Entry in Tornillo has the potential to greatly improve our regional economy through increased trade flows,” Gonzales said. “Continued binational cooperation to improve our port infrastructure is essential to promote economic development.”

Business leaders said the Tornillo port can compliment high-volume border crossings in the El Paso region by increasing efficiency of truck traffic from Juarez. “Doing so, however, will take binational collaboration at the municipal, regional and federal levels,” the chamber said in a statement.