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U.S., Mexico Officials Break Ground On San Diego Border Infrastructure Project

U.S. and Mexico officials wave flags to signal the beginning of construction on a $700 million border infrastructure project in Otay Mesa, Dec. 10, 2013. Dignitaries include: Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, county Supervisor Greg Cox, San Diego Association of Governments Chairman Jack Dale, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego Remedios Gomez-Arnau, and state of Baja Director of International Relations Mariano Escobedo.

Aired 12/11/13 on KPBS News.

U.S. and Mexico officials joined together in Otay Mesa on Tuesday to break ground on a $700 million border infrastructure project.

U.S. and Mexico officials joined together on Tuesday near Otay Mesa Road and SR 125 to wave orange flags and signal construction crews to begin work on a $700 million border infrastructure project. The goal of the new freeway, and eventually a new port of entry, is to cut border wait times and boost cross-border trade.

The 2.5-mile state Route 11 will be built in three stages.

The $112 million first segment will include connectors to state Route 905 and a stretch of new highway from that freeway east to Enrico Fermi Drive.

Segments planned for the future will extend the highway to the border and create a new border crossing. Other plans call for toll roads approaching the border, crossing both north and south of the border, allowing travelers the opportunity to pay a fee to get to the border more quickly and avoid lengthy waits.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzales says the project will expand economic opportunities in San Diego and across the state.

Credit: SANDAG

The planned Otay Mesa II Port of Entry would charge users a toll depending on the traffic at nearby border crossings.

"With $54 billion dollars of goods already moving across the border we know that if we have adequate infrastructure that if we invest in our border crossing, in our roads, in our infrastructure that that can increase," said Gonzales.

According to the San Diego Association of Government, $54 billion worth of goods move across the region's borders annually, yet truckers regularly face waits that exceed two hours at each crossing.

Among the dignitaries scheduled to attend are Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, county Supervisor Greg Cox, San Diego Association of Governments Chairman Jack Dale, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego Remedios Gomez-Arnau, and state of Baja Director of International Relations Mariano Escobedo.

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