(April 25, 2012) A California Chamber of Commerce-supported “job creator” bill that encourages international trade and tourism unanimously passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee yesterday.
AB 2113 (Hueso; D-San Diego) authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue enhanced driver licenses (EDL) to U.S. citizens to expedite legal traffic and reduce congestion at ports of entry along the California-Mexico border.
This bill is a part of CalChamber’s 2012 Renew Agenda and will help position California for economic recovery.
The ports of entry along the California-Mexico border are among the busiest ports in the world. Each year, 45 million vehicle passengers cross the border via one of the six ports of entry. At San Ysidro Port, 50,000 vehicles are processed by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) each day. The average wait for travelers at these ports is more than an hour. These delays result in a loss of 8 million trips each year. In the San Diego region alone, the result is an estimated loss of $1.2 billion in revenues.
AB 2113 relieves the border congestion by implementing the federal EDL program. This program permits U.S. citizens who possess an EDL access to “ready lanes” at California ports of entry. An EDL is a standard driver license that has been enhanced in process, technology and security to denote identity and citizenship for purposes of entering the United States. This technology provides CBP real-time access to a traveler’s biometric and biographical information, allowing the CBP officer to quickly look at the results and focus on the traveler’s vehicle as opposed to scanning documents—reducing wait time by up to 60%.
As California fights its way out of the recession, it is essential to enact legislation that promotes economic growth. Reducing border wait times will allow greater movement of travelers and consumers and would achieve significant economic benefits.
AB 2113 passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support on April 24 10-0.
Ayes: Alejo (D-Watsonville), Atkins (D-South Park/Golden Hill), Dickinson (D-Sacramento), Feuer (D-Los Angeles), Gorell (R-Camarillo), Huber (D-El Dorado Hills), Jones (R-Santee), Monning (D-Carmel), Wagner (R-Irvine), Wieckowski (D-Fremont).
Absent, Abstaining, Not Voting:
Staff Contact: Jeremy Merz