CANAMEX: Major NAFTA Superhighway Trade Corridor Part of House-Senate Transportation Conference Committee

The CANAMEX Corridor will be built through public-private partnerships, a.k.a. PPPs or P3s, which are little more than inefficient government-sanctioned monopolies and crony capitalism. Of these government-corporate partnerships, President Reagan once said they amounted to “government coercion, political favoritism, collectivist industrial policy, and old-fashioned Federal boondoggles nicely wrapped in bright-colored ribbon. And it doesn’t work. This kind of approach was tried in Europe.”  

By Rachel Alexander | May 15, 2012

Source: Government of Alberta, Canada.      NAFTA Globalization                       North American Union

Efforts to advance a nationwide NAFTA Superhighway Trade Corridor and Toll Road System appeared defeated in 2009, when a coalition of illegal immigration activists, homeowners upset over eminent domain, and others launched a massive multi-year protest movement against Governor Rick Perry’s Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC). The Superhighway would have created major thoroughfares running from Mexico to Canada, permitting the mass transfer of Asian, largely Chinese, goods to be transported by truck and rail between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Such a development, highlighted by a policy of ‘Open Borders,’ would ultimately merge the economies and governments of all three nations. Despite the brief setback for the TTC system in 2009, construction of the Superhighway has quietly continued, by using different names and implementing it in increments under pre-existing agreements.

Congress’ Surface Transportation Reauthorization Process

Currently, the U.S. House-Senate transportation conference committee made up of 47 Members of Congress – 14 Senate conferees and 33 House conferees – is looking at authorizing the completion of a major NAFTA corridor that will run from the Pacific ports of Mexico through Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana, into Canada. The CANAMEX Corridor Coalition was formed as part of NAFTA back in 1995. The coalition consists of five U.S. states: Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana, along with the Canadian province of Alberta and the Mexican state of Sonora.

Comprising the area from Nogales on the Mexican border, Tucson, Phoenix and on to Las Vegas,  this portion that will run through Arizona and Nevada is also being called the “Sun Corridor.” Virtually every member of Congress from Arizona and Nevada supports the inclusion of plans to re-designate U.S. Route 93 from Phoenix to Las Vegas as the new Interstate 11 contained in the U.S. Senate’s two-year surface transportation reauthorization bill, S.1813, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21.

To the general public, unaware of the political behind-the-scenes machinations going on in Washington and in their State Houses, the redesignation of U.S. Route 93 as Interstate 11 appears innocuous enough. But it is of far greater significance to the sovereignty and independence of the United States of America.  According to Nevada Rep. Joe Heck’s May 1, 2012 press release, “Such a designation would make I-11 eligible for future federal funding for road construction and improvement projects which increase economic activity in the region as well as relieve traffic demand on smaller roadways.”  Not a single mention of the role that interstate designation would play in the construction of the NAFTA Superhighway Trade Corridor and Toll Road System.

More specifically, a letter dated April 27 was sent to Rep. John Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, along with the ranking Democrat, Nick Rahall, (WVA) requesting that the House-Senate “Conference Committee agreement include the Senate-passed language to amend Section 1105(e)(5)(C)(i) of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act [ISTEA] of 1991, to designate roadways within the CANAMEX corridor in Arizona and Nevada to be I-11.”

Members of the Arizona and Nevada congressional delegations who signed the letter include: U.S. Reps. Trent Franks (AZ-2), Joseph Heck (NV-3), Paul Gosar (AZ-1), Shelley Berkley (NV-1), Ben Quayle (AZ-3), Mark Amodei (NV-2), Ed Pastor (AZ-4), David Schweikert (AZ-5), Jeff Flake (AZ-6) and Raul Grijalva (AZ-7).

Phoenix-based CANAMEX Trade Corridor Coalition

According to the CANAMEX Trade Corridor Coalition based in Phoenix, Arizona, the term CANAMEX is derived from the NAFTA country names “CANada, AMerica and MEXico.  The CANAMEX Trade Corridor links the three countries and stretches 3,800 miles or 6,000 km from Anchorage, Alaska to Mexico City, D.F., linking all of western North America.” The Corridor, it explains, “parallels Interstate Route 15 in the United States and serves Alberta, north-western Canada and Alaska at the north end, the States of Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Arizona, plus the western Mexican States, including Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guanjuato, Queretero, Estado de Mexico and the Federal District.”

Undoubtedly, there’s a clear understanding among these Members of Congress that the provisions in MAP-21 involve the NAFTA Superhighway Trade Corridor and Toll Road System stretching from Mexico to Canada. Further to their letter, “the project will complete the only missing section of the CANAMEX Corridor that stretches from the southern and northern U.S. borders.  The completion of this corridor would provide total commerce connectivity between the United States, Mexico and Canada in the intermountain west, which is vital to the continued economic growth of the region.  With increasing port developments in western Mexico and existing congestion on west coast transportation facilities, increased north-south capacity is a high priority and was designated as such in the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Equity Act [ISTEA].”

Exactly when America’s trade globalization all began – AFTER Ronald Reagan’s presidency!

While most, if not all, of this NAFTA-related activity to integrate the political and economic areas of the United States with Canada and Mexico is under the radar not covered by the mainstream media in the daily or nightly news, the incremental advancement of the NAFTA Superhighway is well known among special interest groups, Congress, governor’s mansions, state legislatures and state departments of transportation. “I-11 is supported by the Arizona State Legislature, Arizona Department of Transportation, the Nevada State Legislature, the Nevada Department of Transportation, and a wide range of other local governments, businesses, and stakeholders in both states,” explains the Arizona-Nevada delegation letter.

But no Elected Official Dares to Admit it! 

Even when elected officials justify these incremental additions to the construction of the NAFTA Superhighway, it is in terms of traffic safety, relieving congestion and generating economic growth.  All the while, they never dare mention the development of the Superhighway.  But they only refer to segments contained within it such as Route 93 and I-11 using terms the general public is familiar with so as not to alarm them with the much bigger picture of the NAFTA Superhighway or the even the economic and political integration of the United States, Canada and Mexico into more than just a trading block like a North American Union, not unlike the European Union. For example, the disingenuous delegation letter states: “Besides increasing commerce connectivity across the intermountain west, I-11 could relieve traffic demand on Interstate 5, and congestion in the Phoenix metropolitan area and Boulder City, Nevada, reducing pollution, improving the quality of life, and avoiding the substantial economic costs associated with traffic delays.”

The letter signed by members of the Arizona and Nevada congressional delegations indicates that support from the legislative bodies has been ongoing, including the development of a CANAMEX corridor study stating, “The Arizona and Nevada Departments of Transportation are currently beginning a corridor study from Arizona’s border with Mexico to the northern border of Nevada.” So why is such an extensive study necessary, if there is merely concern over safety, congestion and economic growth in the Phoenix-Las Vegas stretch of roadway?

Former governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano signed Executive Orders as governor compelling Arizona’s participation in the effort.

However, opposition is starting to arise. A bill was introduced in the Arizona legislature this year declaring that Arizona shall not participate in the CANAMEX Corridor Coalition. In 2008, the Arizona legislature passed HCM2003, urging Congress not to enter into construction of a NAFTA Superhighway or a North American Union with Canada or Mexico. Residents in rural Arizona have been showing up at planning meetings to express their opposition – not unlike Texans’ opposition to Governor Rick Perry’s TTC.

North American Economic Integration Following in the Footsteps of the European Economic Community

The ultimage integration of the United States, Canada and Mexico will stem from a trading block initiated in 1992 by the creation of NAFTA — the North American Free Trade Agreement, just as the European Union grew from the Common Market or European Economic Community created by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 over 50 years ago. In the case of the coming North American Union, it will be stitched together through the complicity of presidents and congressional players by the NAFTA Superhighway Trade Corridor and Toll Road System over a period of decades .

The CANAMEX Corridor is not initially being proposed as a toll road, but it will inevitably become one, since the Highway Trust Fund is considered insolvent due to congressional mismanagement, including earmarks, diversions and general overspending. In 2009, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood endorsed toll roads to help finance the NAFTA Superhighway Trade Corridors. It will be built through public-private partnerships, a.k.a. PPPs or P3s, which are little more than inefficient government-sanctioned monopolies and crony capitalism. Of these government-corporate partnerships, President Reagan once said they amounted to “government coercion, political favoritism, collectivist industrial policy, and old-fashioned Federal boondoggles nicely wrapped up in bright-colored ribbon. And it doesn’t work. This kind of approach was tried in Europe.”

In Texas, the Trans-Texas Corridor is still being built, renamed by the Texas Department of Transportation to “Innovative Connectivity in Texas” (ICT) to throw the discerning public off track. NAFTA corridors, however, are being built there one stretch, loop, bridge and overpass at a time. In fact, the notorious 2005 Supreme Court decision Kelo v. City of New London has made it easy for the government to seize property from owners through eminent domain to make way for the Superhighway and global interests in America’s heartland.

Clearly, the NAFTA Superhighway will hurt the U.S. economy not help it with the false promise of jobs for the American worker.  It is touted as promoting “free trade,” but in actuality NAFTA does not since the U.S. does not conduct pure free trade with other countries. Since the U.S. does not charge a value added tax (VAT) tax to its goods, they are not as competitive, creating a trade imbalance. The Superhighway will enable China to flood the U.S. market even more with cheap goods, causing more U.S. jobs to be lost to Asia.

Overall, the NAFTA Superhighway will duplicate existing highways and permit Mexican trucks to travel freely throughout the U.S. to Canada. The Mexican government does not share the same strict safety requirements the U.S. places on commercial trucks. The damage that could be caused to the environment and the increased risk of accidents is monumental.

The ultimate purpose of building NAFTA corridors is to restructure and integrate the economies and governments of the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The name CANAMEX suggests an integrating of the continent from Canada to Mexico. In coming decades, the NAFTA Superhighway Trade Corridor and Toll Road System will erode U.S. sovereignty and put Mexico on equal footing with the U.S., giving it de facto equal ownership of roads within our country.

Moreover, the recent construction of the NAFTA Superhighway has flown under the public radar because the government entities, the special interests and many elected officials who back it cloak all of their requests for funding parts of it in terms of safety, environmental protection, controlling congestion, etc. – or as President Reagan once proclaimed – “Federal boondoggles nicely wrapped up in bright-colored ribbon.”

Rachel Alexander is the founder of the Intellectual Conservative and an attorney. Ms. Alexander is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.