California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined federal and state officials from the United States and Mexico to announce the issuance of a federal permit that clears the way to create a new California-Mexico border crossing in Otay Mesa, Calif. Granted by the U.S. Department of State, the federal permit promises to accommodate projected trade growth and improve economic activity between this region and other parts of the world. It has been over a decade since a border crossing has opened between California and Baja California, Mexico.
“This is one more step in our continued effort to rebuild and expand the infrastructure needed to accommodate increased international trade with Mexico and other countries around the world,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “This project will not only enhance border security and assist in the movement of goods and people across our borders — it will help attract new business and investment in the region and boost our economic competitiveness in the global marketplace. The faster we can securely move people and vital goods and services – the stronger our economy will be.”
In February, Governor Schwarzenegger sent a letter to the Bush Administration urging the issuance of the federal permit. In August, the Governor hosted the 26th Annual Border Governors Conference, where a joint declaration was reached among 10 U.S. and Mexican border states that fosters a renewed commitment to reducing border wait times and improving the secure movement of people, goods and services across the United States-Mexico border.
“The addition of the Otay Mesa port of entry will enhance border security in California,” said Director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security Matthew Bettenhausen. “Bringing new facilities and technology along with more customs and border staff will improve our ability to monitor cargo, vehicles and people crossing our international border.”
With the passage of Senate Bill 1486 earlier this year, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) can issue bonds and seek private investor dollars to build the SR 11 extension to the border as a toll road. SANDAG will be the toll authority for this project and the end result will provide a premium crossing option for a fee that is projected to reduce wait times from up to eight hours down to less than a half hour. The schedule calls for issuing the toll revenue bonds in 2010, with this project projected to break ground in 2012 and open to traffic in 2014. Additionally, a sum of $75 million has been allocated toward construction from the state’s Proposition 1B, the 2006 Transportation Bond championed by Governor Schwarzenegger and approved by voters and the legislature.
“This new border crossing will help alleviate traffic congestion while promoting the secure transportation of vital goods and services across our border – boosting the economy when we need it the most.” said Secretary Dale E. Bonner of the state Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.
Souce: Office of the Governor
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