Building Bridges Along the California and Mexico Border

Today, the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) joins United States and Mexican officials and dignitaries in celebrating the formal inauguration of the Cross Border Xpress, an international border crossing that connects airport passengers in San Diego directly to the Tijuana International Airport via an enclosed pedestrian sky bridge.

The 390-foot bridge has reduced travel times from several hours to a matter of minutes for the more than two million Tijuana International Airport passengers who cross the border each year.

Prior to the opening of the Cross Border Xpress in December 2015, Tijuana International Airport passengers crossed the border at the congested San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry, enduring unpredictable border wait times and routine delays of up to two hours.

According to a 2007 study by the San Diego Association of Governments, border crossing traffic and delays cost the U.S. and Mexican economies an estimated $7.2 billion in gross output and more than 62,000 jobs annually. Vehicle congestion at all border crossings between San Diego and Tijuana also has a negative impact on air quality in surrounding communities.

Now an average of 2,000 passengers per day – up to 5,000 during peak holiday travel periods – are using the 24-hour Cross Border Xpress to avoid those unnecessary delays.

In 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. participated in a trade mission to Mexico where he committed to expand environmental and economic cooperation between the two neighbors. The Cross Border Xpress is just one example of the successful bridge building currently underway to increase California and Mexico cross-border collaboration and reduce border wait times.

California’s Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is partnering with local, state and federal stakeholders in the U.S. and Mexico on the creation of the state’s first tolled vehicle border crossing. The flagship Otay Mesa East Land Port of Entry, expected to be open to traffic by the end of 2018, will further reduce border crossing wait times and facilitate more efficient movement of traffic between California and Mexico.

Innovative solutions – like the Cross Border Xpress and Otay Mesa East – that create safe and efficient transportation connections between California and Mexico are vital to achieving the region’s economic, health, and air quality objectives.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.