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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Secretary Kelly Signs Port of Entry MOU With Mexico Transportation Ministry

SACRAMENTO—Highlighting the importance of goods movement and international trade, California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Communications and Transportation of the United Mexican States that establishes an oversight committee to monitor construction of a new port of entry at Otay Mesa.

“The fact that Mexico is entering into an agreement with California to improve our shared port of entry reflects the important role of international trade and commerce between California and Mexico,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly. “This partnership between Mexico and California will help strengthen our land connection and the tens of billions of dollars in commerce that flows through our mutual border.”

SigningPictures

Under today’s agreement, a bi-national, multiagency oversight committee will be formed to facilitate policy issues and review major milestones during ongoing project development of the new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. The committee will focus on financing and revenue sharing, reducing air pollution and congestion, project management coordination and ensuring appropriate staffing for safety, security and efficiency of the ports of entry.

The State Route 11 / Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project, which is estimated to cost around $750 million, is being built in four segments and the first segment began construction in December 2013. Meanwhile, the Mexican Communications and Transportation Ministry is preparing to construct two direct access roadways and the new Otay II Port of Entry in the city of Tijuana, Baja California.

Otay Mesa East-Otay II is a flagship border infrastructure project with the objective of fostering bilateral trade in the Baja California-California region by reducing waiting times through a single and efficient binational operation and the extended and innovative use of technology. Since the beginning of the project, the State of California, the Communications and Transportation Ministry and the San Diego Association of Governments have developed collaborative efforts on a variety of tasks such as binational infrastructure planning and coordination, intelligent transportation systems and environmental protection. This MOU strengthens cooperation and supports the effective delivery of this new port of entry.

Here is a map of the ongoing and planned construction activities to improve and build a new port of entry:

OTAY MESA EAST CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

OtayMesaMap

In 2013, approximately $50 billion worth of goods moved across California-México land ports of entry, of which more than $35 billion flowed through the San Diego-Tijuana region ports of entry. Unfortunately, bottlenecks at the existing Otay Mesa Port of Entry, the San Diego-Tijuana region’s only commercial border crossing, and the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest land border crossing in the world, regularly create wait times exceeding two hours per vehicle.

You can find the Memorandum of Understanding here.

If that link doesn’t work, please feel free to copy and paste this URL: http://www.calsta.ca.gov/res/docs/pdfs/2014/Draft%20Final%20Transportation%20MOU%2007_30_14.pdf

For more information on the California State Transportation Agency, this announcement, and our activity, please visit www.calsta.ca.gov