Nevada ports of entry bill dies

| Friday, June 15, 2007

When the clock struck midnight on the Nevada regular session, a bill to establish four ports of entry in the state officially died.

Sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, the bill sought to allow the state Department of Transportation or private companies to build and operate ports of entry along Interstate 15 in southern Nevada and Interstate 80 in northern Nevada.

The bill – AB374 – remained in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee at the close of the session that ended June 5.

Supporters said the facilities are needed on the state’s eastern and western borders to reduce vulnerability to drug smuggling, people smuggling, explosives and terrorists. They also said high-tech equipment would be used at the locations for scanning up to 20,000 trucks a day.

Other advocates said the facilities would make it easier to spot truckers with unsafe trucks or with criminal records.

Opponents said ports of entry would cause significant delays to the trucking industry. They also questioned the legality of the bill because in-state truckers wouldn’t have to pay fees for inspection.

Other critics said the entry points would give only “an illusion of security” because there are 37 highways that enter the state. A spokesman for NDOT said the new entry ports would be “just diverting the problem” to other highways, The Associated Press reported.

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