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.

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California Announces New Under 2 MOU Signatories, International Effort to Accelerate Zero-Emission Vehicles

December 3, 2015
Contact: Alex Barnum, (916) 324-9670

SACRAMENTO—As the state’s top climate officials prepare to join world leaders at the U.N. Climate Change Conference this week, California today announced an effort by 13 North American and European governments to make all new passenger vehicles sold in their jurisdictions zero-emission by 2050. Additionally, it was announced that eight new signatories have joined the Under 2 MOU climate pact.

With more than 190 nations convening in Paris to negotiate a landmark climate agreement, the announcements demonstrate the growing momentum among national and sub-national governments for ambitious goals to reduce climate-disrupting greenhouse gas emissions.

“Cleaner vehicles will help California and the world combat the threat of climate change,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Matthew Rodriquez. “California is a leader in the growing market for zero-emission vehicles, with half of the ZEVs on U.S. roads. The work we do with other leading states and countries will accelerate growth and provide benefits in California and around the world.”

California is joining with 12 partners in Europe and North America, as members of the International ZEV Alliance, to drive the global transition to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Achieving the 2050 goal will reduce emissions from the transportation sector consistent with what is needed to meet long-term climate targets.

In addition to California, members of the alliance include Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom in Europe; Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont in the United States; and Québec in Canada.

International ZEV Alliance partners are already leaders in the rapidly growing market for ZEVS, which include battery electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. Together the jurisdictions account for about half of zero-emission vehicle sales worldwide.

Large-scale adoption of electric vehicles, in concert with increasing renewable energy sources, is not only essential for limiting climate change impacts, but will also improve air quality and public health, end global dependence on petroleum, and grow the low-carbon economy.

In 2012, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an executive order directing state government to help accelerate adoption of zero-emission vehicles in California toward a goal of 1.5 million ZEVs by the year 2025. Since then, the California market has grown significantly, with California now accounting for about 50 percent of ZEVs nationwide.

California was a founding partner of the International ZEV Alliance in September. For more information and to read the announcement, visit the International ZEV Alliance website.

Additionally, California is welcoming eight new signatories to the Under 2 MOU, the global pact among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius – the warming threshold at which scientists say there will likely be catastrophic climate disruptions.

To date, 65 jurisdictions from 20 countries and five continents have now signed or endorsed the Under 2 MOU, collectively representing more than $17.9 trillion in GDP and 588 million people. If the signatories represented a single country, it would be the largest economy in the world by GDP, surpassing the United States.

One of the new signatories is Connecticut, which announced today it had signed the Under 2 MOU, becoming the eighth American state to sign the pact.

“Connecticut has set an aggressive goal for reducing carbon emissions to combat climate change – and is determined to do so in a manner that improves our environment and air quality while increasing our energy security, building our economy, and creating jobs,” said Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “We are making strong progress on all fronts and our state has emerged as a national leader on climate action. Signing the Under 2 MOU aligns us with other jurisdictions who share our deep commitment to protecting the future of our planet and safeguarding the well-being of every one who lives here.”

Over the past two weeks, the Under 2 MOU has also been signed by leaders from Pernambuco, a state in northeastern Brazil, and six European regions: the Swiss cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft; the French region of Alsace and the Department of Bas-Rhin, a region within Alsace; and the Dutch regions of North and South Holland.

Under the agreement, signatories commit to either reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 or achieve a per capita annual emission target of less than 2 metric tons by 2050. These targets allow each individual government to tailor emission reduction plans to fit regional needs.

For more information on the agreement, please visit http://www.under2mou.org. The full text of the agreement can be found here.

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