Commentary by Bruce Kellison
As the debate goes on in Texas over whether to continue to finance road construction with tolls, there is new evidence that increasing tolls charged to cross the bridges between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez does not affect traffic volumes. With such inelastic demand for border crossings by foot, car, or truck, local policymakers may have more leeway in raising revenues to pay for infrastructure maintenance and expansion of border-crossing facilities, which would ease transit times and lower shipping and other costs of trade.
Speaking of El Paso, I came across an interesting article on crime rates in cities with large immigrant populations. After Honolulu and New York, El Paso has the third lowest murder rate of any U.S. city last year with a population over 500,000. Is it because immigrant entrepreneurship leads to safer communities? We know that newly arrived immigrants have higher self-employment rates than second- or third-generation minorities and the domestic population as a whole, which may provide more economic stability during recessions.