WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez introduced the Honest Runway Labeling Act, which would designate certain airports within 30 miles of the northern or southern border as ports of entry while terminating the corresponding airport’s user fees, including Valley International Airport in Harlingen.
“This legislation would save travelers from having to pay duplicative costs,” Gonzalez stated. “South Texas is growing at a rapid rate, and it is important that our airports and other transportation infrastructure can keep up with increased demand for commercial travel as well as assisting with federal operations.”
“Valley International Airport has been working for years at a competitive disadvantage by being deprived of the benefits afforded to other border primary commercial service airports,” Marv Esterly, the airport’s director of aviation, stated. “Achieving this important port of entry designation would enable HRL to access important U.S. Customs services and provide residents of the Rio Grande Valley more choices when it comes to air travel, including international airline destinations. Additionally, this designation would facilitate air cargo shipments, further contributing to our economy.”
“Passenger activity at HRL from 2019-2022 has grown at a record pace of 28% and is continuing this pace in 2023,” Esterly stated. “As one of only a few U.S. border primary commercial service airports with actual international airline service, it makes sense to invest in the future of HRL. We are grateful to Congressman Gonzalez for introducing this important legislation and his continued and unwavering support of our airport.”
South Texas is growing at a rapid rate, and it is important that our airports and other transportation infrastructure can keep up with increased demand for commercial travel as well as assisting with federal operations.
“The Valley International Airport is a very important self-sustaining component of the city of Harlingen that serves the citizens of the entire Rio Grande Valley,” Mayor Norma Sepulveda stated. “We appreciate and thank Congressman Vicente Gonzalez for his continued support of our airport.”
Valley International Airport is one of two primary commercial service airports near a U.S. border and land crossing without international and landing rights nor a POE designation.
Airports without this designation must pay to staff their airports with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
Although they qualify as ports of entry under the CBP’s numerical criteria due to their proximity to a land border crossing, they have yet to receive this designation, resulting in increased costs for these airports and travelers.