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Border Crossing Expansion Begins At San Ysidro Port

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Aired 2/25/11

The San Ysidro Port of Entry is America's busiest border crossing but it also may be the most frustrating border crossing. That's why government leaders from the U.S. and Mexico showed up to break ground to expand the port.

— The San Ysidro Port of Entry is America's busiest border crossing but it also may be the most frustrating border crossing, with wait times often surpassing two hours. That's why the federal government is launching a $557 million construction project to expand the port.

Shovels wait to be used in a ceremonial ground-breaking at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which will be expanded to increase traffic flow. February 24, 2011.
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Above: Shovels wait to be used in a ceremonial ground-breaking at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which will be expanded to increase traffic flow. February 24, 2011.

Government leaders from the U.S. and Mexico broke ground Thursday on an expanded port of entry.

The number of northbound inspection booths will increase from 24 to 63, by increasing the number of traffic lanes and double-stacking the booths. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is building the expansion.

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson said American ports of entry are vital to cross-border commerce and to U.S.-Mexico relations.

“They connect us, they protects us, and they bridge the gaps between us,” she said.

Senator Barbara Boxer, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán all showed up to turn a shovel of sand. Hundreds of well-dressed people turned out for the event. The weather was brisk and the security was tight.

The evolution of the U.S.-Mexico border into a militarized zone was clearly seen in the many well-armed customs officers. A military color-guard ceremony preceded the V.I.P. speeches. The highlight of the event was the soaring tenor voice of Maximino Melchor Vasquez, a member of Opera Tijuana, who sang the Mexican national anthem.

All of the speakers praised the port expansion. But Democratic Congressman Bob Filner aired a note of caution, and took a jab at Republicans when he warned that budget cuts could imperil the project's latter stages.

“The majority party in the house -- I forget their name -- they cut a billion dollars from the GSA construction budget,” he said.

Congress has already funded the project's phase 1, which includes most of the northbound lanes. The General Services Administration hopes to complete phase 1 in 2014. The expansion ultimately seeks hopes to reduce wait times from two hours to about 30 minutes.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Greg Duch'

Greg Duch | February 25, 2011 at 5:18 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom:
The border crossing is near and dear to my heart--literally, about 1/2 mile from my residence;-- and FROM where I am sitting at the moment. This establishment caters to a 99.85% MEXICAN-AMERICAN, MEXICAN clientele. I am the .15% ANGLO-YANQUIS CLIENTELE. Life here at the world's busiest international land crossing--(or water crossing) in its day-in day-out rhythm is fairly mundane on the San Ysidro side. People go to and from work in both directions across the border each morning and each afternoon in a fairly quotidien fashion. For all the Hob-Gob about the looming brown wave of terror PUSHING NORTHWARD, as portayed by some in the media, here at ground zero, people are just living their lives as normally as in the rest of the city of San Diego. PS SAN YSIDRO IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO. WE ACTUALLY HAVE OUR OWN SAN DIEGO, DISTRICT 8 CITY COUNCIL REP.-- COUNCILMEMBER DAVID ALVAREZ. BUENAS TARDES, Y'ALL **** PPS I STILL WISH KPBS WOULD SEND A STRONGER FM RADIO SIGNAL THIS WAY. Not even a faint whisper of a signal COMES THIS WAY--so I HAVEN'T HEARD ANY more "THESE DAYS", ET AL MY other FAVORITES FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS!!!!!

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