Despite claims to the contrary, a planned Midwest “inland port” with a Mexican customs office will not be restricted to railroad traffic, according to internal documents obtained by WorldNetDaily.

As WND has reported, Kansas City SmartPort plans to utilize deep-sea Mexican ports such as Lazaro Cardenas to unload containers from China and the Far East as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement super-highway plan.

The plan would include the hotly contested allowance of Mexican trucks on U.S. roads, WND has reported, but Tasha Hammes of the Kansas City Area Development Council has insisted the port will be restricted to railroad traffic.

Hammes has argued the railroad link is “nothing new, other than the fact that Kansas City Southern acquired the Mexican railroad serving this port and that major work has been done on the port of Lazaro Cardenas so that it has higher capacity and can handle larger containers.”

But internal e-mails make it clear that officials, hoping to stay below the radar of public opinion, plan to expand from rail to trucks after the Mexican customs facility is operational.

The Mexican customs facility project was championed by David W. Eaton, president of Monterrey Business Consultants in Monterrey, Mexico, and the former executive director of North American International Trade Corridor Partnership, a non-profit group with the aim of internationalizing U.S. highways to facilitate trade with Mexico and Canada.

In a Jan. 7 e-mail, Eaton writes:

They are still going back and forth on the rail and truck focus. However, according to Manuel [Manuel Ruiz, a Mexican customs official], the first stage will most likely be “rail only” with trucking added later.

Kenneth Hoffman of the law firm Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin, outside council to KC SmartPort, was copied on Eaton’s e-mail. A few minutes later, Hoffman answered, supporting the phase-in strategy:

My feeling is that we need to get this done in such a way that [the Mexican customs facility] is successful when it opens. If it starts small that is fine as long as there is productive work that we can point to as evidence that the effort was worthwhile. We can expand to trucks after getting the process up and running.

The e-mails are consistent with a position paper Eaton authored for the Montreal-based Institute for Research on Public Policy, entitled “Roads, Trains, and Ports: Integrating North American Transport.”

In the paper, Eaton argued railroad transport should be developed as the first mode to bring containers from China through Mexican ports into the U.S., because “one unit train can carry the equivalent of approximately 250 trucks.”

Moreover, Eaton had argued that use of Mexican trucks was impaired by the poor condition of Mexico’s roadways and the wear and tear on Mexican trucks resulting from overuse. Eaton had concluded “North America would be well served by linking its rail infrastructure and systems,” which has been advanced by Kansas City Southern’s acquisition of Mexican railroads.

An examination of the internal e-mails from Kansas City SmartPort over the last two years shows the development of the city’s international “inland port” concept – including the Mexican customs facility – involved an ambitious multi-year process with the aim of tying into the emerging corridor-oriented NAFTA Super-Highway network.

Development of the KCSmartPort vision included active involvement of the North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition, or NASCO, a non-profit group “dedicated to developing the world’s first international, integrated and secure, multi-modal transportation system along the International Mid-Continent Trade and Transportation Corridor to improve both the trade competitiveness and quality of life in North America.”

Chris Gutierrez, president of KCSmartPort, frequently copied NASCO President George Blackwood on details of the negotiations with Mexican and U.S. officials regarding the Mexican customs office.

An April 26 e-mail from Gutierrez included Blackwood among the list of recipients. In his message, Gutierrez reported he worked directly with the office of Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., and with Mexican government officials to apply political pressure to influence the State Department and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, to move faster in approving the Mexican customs facility application:

CBP told me that the State Department is reviewing the C-175 [form needed to approve Mexican customs facility]. Bond’s office has calls into the State Dept; letter to Gil Diaz [Mexican Secretary of Finance] went out last week asking him to encourage CBP and State Dept to move it along. Here is the draft letter to Minister [Luis Ernesto] Derbez [Mexican Foreign Ministry Secretary]. I was still tweaking it but here it is for your review.

In 1998, before becoming NASCO president, Blackwood established the North American International Trade Corridor Partnership while he served as mayor pro tem of Kansas City. The NAITCP has been absorbed into NASCO.

A NAIPC summit meeting in 2004 was attended by Mexican officials, including Secretary of Finance Gil Diaz, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Geronimo Guiterrez, Deputy Counsel of Mexico Noemi Hernandez, Counsel of Mexico in Kansas City Everardo Suarez. Also in attendance was Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Kay Barnes and the president and CEO of Kansas City Southern railroad, Mike Haverty.

Photographed on the first page of the summit executive summary is Robert Pastor, an American University professor who has written “Toward a North American Community,” a book promoting the development of a North American union as a regional government and the adoption of the amero as a common monetary currency to replace the dollar and the peso.

Pastor also was vice chairman of the May 2005 Council on Foreign Relations task force entitled “Building a North American Community” that presents itself as a blueprint for using bureaucratic action within the executive branches of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada to transform the current trilateral Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America into a North American union regional government.

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