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New Port Of Entry To Open In Otay Mesa By 2024

Dignitaries from California and Mexico signed a memorandum of understanding Monday to open a new port of entry at the U.S-Mexico border in Otay Mesa by late 2024.

Officials say the State Route 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Project will help facilitate and bolster trade between the two countries by adding a third port of entry in the San Diego region, as well as cut down on motorist wait times at the border, thus improving air quality by reducing emissions from vehicles that are often idling bumper-to-bumper at border crossings.

New Port Of Entry To Open In Otay Mesa By 2024

Listen to this story by Alexandra Rangel.

Described as a "21st Century border crossing," the project is slated to feature a number of technological systems to monitor wait times and reduce traffic congestion, including electronically collected tolls, a traveler information system that will inform drivers on toll rates and wait times, and interchangeable primary inspection lanes that differ between peak passenger and commercial vehicle travel times.

RELATED: Border Crossing Delays Cost San Diego-Tijuana Region Billions, Report Finds

More than $500 million has been invested into the project to date, with a total of around $1 billion estimated for the facility on both sides of the border.

California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis said the new port of entry's improvements "will help drive economic activity on both sides of the border," while Roberto Velasco Alvarez, Mexico's general director for North America, Ministry of Foreign Relations, called wait times at the border "the main barrier to trade" between the U.S. and Mexico.

Peak wait times at existing ports of entry will be reduced by roughly 50% when the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry opens, according to David Kim, secretary for the California State Transportation Agency.

Average pre-pandemic wait times were at one to two hours for commercial vehicles, and 1.5 to two hours for passenger vehicles, Kim said.

The goal of the new port of entry is to reduce average wait times down to "no more than 20 minutes," SANDAG chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said.

The memorandum of understanding reached between the two countries and signed during a Monday press conference laid the groundwork regarding project milestones, toll locations on the U.S. side and toll revenue sharing policies that will help finance the project.

"Adding a brand new port of entry will have a huge impact in terms of keeping this important trade and economic relationship going and moving forward," Kim said.

Video: New Port Of Entry To Open In Otay Mesa By 2024

Sours: https://www.kpbs.org/news/border-immigration/2021/06/28/new-port-entry-open-otay-mesa-2024

California, Mexico sign agreement to open new Otay Mesa border crossing by late 2024

OTAY MESA — 

The governments of California and Mexico signed an agreement Monday committing to work together to deliver on time a new border crossing at Otay Mesa by late 2024.

Unlike other ports of entry, such as San Ysidro and the one operating in Otay Mesa, this new gate would require a toll fee that would offer an average wait time goal of 20 minutes to cross the border.

Currently, passenger vehicles and commercial trucks crossing the border between Tijuana and San Diego can endure tedious waits, harming business and the environmental, officials said.

“This new port of entry will not only spur economic activity, but it will also improve the quality of life for the millions of Californians and Mexicans who frequently cross one of the busiest borders in the world,” said California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.

“A great example of California’s leadership in combatting climate change. The project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve mobility in the region.”

Otay Mesa East, also known as the Otay II project, will help reduce wait times at existing border crossings and is projected to provide an economic boost of $1.8 billion annually, officials said.

With the signing of the memorandum of understanding, both countries commit to meet their respective construction projects, quickly resolve policy issues and establish a framework to share toll revenues for project funding.

“We know what it takes to get it done. We have certain milestones to meet, and now we have this document that memorializes our commitment to the project,” said California Secretary of Transportation David S. Kim after the signing ceremony Monday at the construction site in Otay Mesa.

On the California side, the $1 billion project has already secured $565 million in local, state and federal funding. The remainder is expected to be financed mostly through toll revenue.

On the Mexican side, a first phase investment of more than $186 million is contemplated for construction work and access roads, according to Roberto Velasco, director of North America with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last year, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador included the Otay II project within an infrastructure plan that seeks to reactivate the economy.

Velasco emphasized that this project is a symbol of the strong binational relationship. “We believe in building bridges not in building walls, and this is important for us in that sense,” he said.

“This is the future of the U.S.-Mexico relationship that we want. A future where we are more connected, and we allow for the many different possibilities that life in the border offers to both of our countries”.

Officials from Mexico and California, including San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria (far left), at the signing ceremony in Otay Mesa

(Alexandra Mendoza - U-T)

Initially, Otay Mesa East will have five lanes for vehicles and five more for commercial trucks, with the option for these to be interchangeable depending on the time and demand, explained María Rodríguez-Molina, project manager with SANDAG.

Toll fees will not be collected at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection point, but “either through electronic pay” or in toll booths that will be placed within the U.S. on the State Route 11.

Toll collection will be for both northbound and southbound traffic. The revenue will be divided between the U.S. and Mexico, added Mario Orso, project director with Caltrans.

Mario Orso, Caltrans projector director, with a map of the border area.

(Alexandra Mendoza/U-T en Español )

On the U.S. side, the project started eight years ago with the construction of the SR-11. Construction of the new port is now under way on a 100-acre area a few miles east of the current Otay Mesa border crossing.

In Tijuana, construction is expected to begin next year to meet the timeframe both countries established.

Sours: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/latest/story/2021-06-29/california-mexico-sign-agreement-to-open-new-otay-mesa-border-crossing-by-late-2024
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A Mexican migrant died Sunday after falling from the border fence in Otay Mesa after attempting to cross from Mexico into the U.S., San Diego Police said.

Cameras along the border alerted border patrol agents to three individuals attempting to cross from Mexico into the U.S. over the border fence by the Tijuana International Airport and the Cross Border Xpress in Otay Mesa.

Once agents got to the scene, they arrested an individual between the two border fences. According to the San Diego Medical Examiner report, another agent "heard a noise" and located the decedent lying unresponsive on the north side of the border fence.

The border patrol agent called for assistance and paramedics and officers with the SDPD were dispatched to the scene. The man was confirmed dead at the scene.

The medical examiner determined the cause of death was blunt force injuries of the head. The man was reported to be from Oaxaca, Mexico. No identity has been released.

No other information was available.

Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

Sours: https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/mexican-migrant-dies-after-falling-from-border-fence-in-otay-mesa/2672128/
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California and Mexico sign agreement to open new border crossing by late 2024

OTAY MESA — 

The governments of California and Mexico signed an agreement Monday stating their commitment to work together to open new border crossing at Otay Mesa by late 2024.

With the new gate, the third in the San Diego region, officials aim to reduce long port-of-entry wait times. The goal with the added crossing is a wait time of no more than 20 minutes.

Currently, passenger vehicles and commercial trucks crossing the border between Tijuana and San Diego may endure tedious waits — harming business, as well as air quality as they idle in line — officials said.

“This new port of entry will not only spur economic activity, but it will also improve the quality of life for the millions of Californians and Mexicans who frequently cross one of the busiest borders in the world,” said California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.

She called the agreement “a great example of California’s leadership in combating climate change. The project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve mobility in the region.”

Otay Mesa East, also known as the Otay II project, is expected to provide an economic boost of $1.8 billion annually, officials said.

With the signing of the memorandum of understanding, California and Mexico have agreed to adhere to construction timelines, to quickly resolve any policy issues, and to establish a framework to share toll revenues for project funding.

“We know what it takes to get it done. We have certain milestones to meet, and now we have this document that memorializes our commitment to the project,” said California Secretary of Transportation David S. Kim after the signing ceremony Monday at the construction site in Otay Mesa.

On the California side, the $1-billion project has already secured $565 million in local, state and federal funding. The remainder is expected to be financed mostly through toll revenue.

On Mexico’s side, a first-phase investment of more than $186 million is under consideration to cover construction work and access roads, according to Roberto Velasco, director of North America with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last year, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador included the Otay II project within an infrastructure plan aiming to reactivate the economy.

Velasco emphasized that this project was a symbol of a strong binational relationship. “We believe in building bridges, not in building walls, and this is important for us in that sense,” he said.

“This is the future of the U.S.-Mexico relationship that we want — a future where we are more connected, and we allow for the many different possibilities that life in the border offers to both of our countries.”

Officials from Mexico and California, including San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, far left, attend the signing ceremony Monday in San Diego’s Otay Mesa community.

(Alexandra Mendoza - U-T)

Initially, Otay Mesa East will have five lanes for vehicles and five more for commercial trucks, with the option for these to be interchangeable depending on the time and demand, explained María Rodríguez-Molina, project manager with the San Diego Assn. of Governments.

Tolls will not be collected at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection point. They will be collected electronically or at toll booths that will be placed within the U.S. along State Route 11. Studies are still underway to determine the cost.

Toll collection will be for both northbound and southbound traffic. The revenue will be divided between the U.S. and Mexico, added Mario Orso, project director with Caltrans.

Mario Orso, Caltrans project director, with a map of the border area.

(Alexandra Mendoza/U-T en Español )

On the U.S. side, the project started eight years ago with the construction of State Route 11. Construction of the new port of entry is now underway on a 100-acre area a few miles east of the current Otay Mesa border crossing.

In Tijuana, construction is expected to begin next year to meet the agreed-upon timeframe.

Sours: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-06-29/california-and-mexico-sign-agreement-to-open-new-otay-mesa-border-crossing-by-late-2024

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