By SDCN Staff
San Diego, CA–San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and Caltrans District 11 joined U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar, Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis, U.S. and Mexican dignitaries, and business leaders Monday to celebrate a “California Day” reception in Mexico City where SANDAG, along with the state of California, signed a binational Toll Revenue Sharing Agreement with Mexico.
The agreement is a legally binding document that will establish the revenue split between the U.S. and Mexico for the toll affiliated with the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry.
“This new agreement, which I signed as a witness today, will bring economic prosperity to our cross-border region,” said Lt. Governor Kounalakis. “The Otay Mesa East Port of Entry is a vital link in our nation’s supply chain and in creating thousands of jobs. This historic revenue sharing agreement solidifies the joint commitment of California and the Government of Mexico to boosting trade and creating jobs.”
The signing strengthens the state’s bilateral partnership with Mexico, helps advance key border projects and initiatives, and brings the San Diego-Baja California region one step closer to an innovative new border crossing. The future facility will reduce wait times, curb emissions, power economic growth, and bolster binational trade along the busiest border region in the Western Hemisphere.
“The signing of the revenue-sharing agreement for the operation of the new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry is another major step toward realizing a vision for border security and efficiency that’s been 20 years in the making,” said SANDAG Vice Chair and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “The reduction in border wait times will have a substantial positive economic impact and will improve quality of life for the people in our binational mega-region.”
By signing the Toll Revenue Sharing Agreement, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to various revenue-sharing strategies, including a single toll collection point on the U.S.’s side of State Route 11, a set toll rate by SANDAG Board of Directors, and finalizing North American Development Bank as custodian and distributor of the toll funds.
The signing of the Toll Revenue Sharing Agreement comes off the heels of the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry receiving a $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which will go towards financing the construction of the new border crossing facility and related transportation infrastructure.
“The economic, social, and cultural power of our binational region depends greatly on the strong relationships and collaboration between the U.S. and Mexico,” said SANDAG Transportation Committee Chair and San Diego County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Nora Vargas. “As Chair of the Transportation Committee for SANDAG I am proud to have signed this historic revenue-sharing agreement to help advance the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. This project will increase cross-border mobility, create jobs, strengthen our supply chain, and help us reach our climate goals.”
The California Day reception encapsulated the long-standing relationship that California and Mexico have as well as their joint commitment to invest in border initiatives that foster bilateral trade growth, enhance mobility, and reduce emissions for the Baja California-California mega region, an economic engine for the State of California, United States, and Mexico.
The SR 11 Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project is a joint venture between SANDAG and Caltrans in collaboration with state and federal partners in the U.S. and Mexico to create a 21st-century border crossing for the San Diego-Baja California mega-region that will enhance regional mobility and fuel economic growth and binational trade.
The proposed border improvements will provide fast, predictable, and secure border crossings by constructing a four-lane, tolled road connecting directly to a state-of-the-art Customs and Border Protection Land Port of Entry and a California Highway Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility.
Additional improvements include a new border wait-time detection system, advanced traveler information to improve route planning, and an optimized port of entry capacity to decrease congestion and wait times.