EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Expanding a port of entry in the New Mexico desert has become a priority for the U.S. and Mexico since the governor of Texas slowed commercial traffic to a crawl with enhanced trucking inspections last month.

So much so that it was a topic of discussion Tuesday during a meeting of Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“(Here) with Alejandro Mayorkas (to talk about) new infrastructure for the border with New Mexico in Santa Teresa-San Jeronimo to facilitate cross-border transport,” Ebrard said on social media. “(Also) regional management of the migration flow and immediate opportunities for work (and development) in Central America.”

Ebrard said he also would meet with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to discuss joint investments in Central America and U.S. investment in Southern Mexico.

Southern New Mexico industry leaders see the Mexican government’s interest in expanding Santa Teresa as an opportunity for more economic growth and a viable outlet should Texas Gov. Greg Abbott again strangle truck traffic in the busy commercial truck corridor of El Paso, Texas. The Santa Teresa port of entry lies just 15 miles west of Downtown El Paso.

“We’ve been working with our congressional delegation, with Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar and at all levels of government on how this port of entry, which is one of the fastest-growing in the U.S.-Mexico border, can get the infrastructure to match the investment we have going over here and keep the momentum going,” said Jerry Pacheco, president and CEO of the Border Industrial Association.

The federal government recently appropriated half a million dollars for a feasibility and design study that would be a cornerstone for port expansion.

“That will get us a project that will be shovel-ready. But you gotta work with both sides – you can’t just do the U.S. side,” Pacheco said. “And this shows the Mexican government is in step with what we’re trying to do here, so that’s very encouraging.”

Border truck crossings in 2022 (Bureau of Labor Statistics graphic)

A total of 13,730 trucks crossed the border at Santa Teresa in March alone, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data.