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KPBS Midday Edition

Opening Of Second Pedestrian Border Crossing At San Ysidro Delayed

Pedestrians cross into Mexico through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Nov. 3, 2015.
Jean Guerrero
Pedestrians cross into Mexico through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Nov. 3, 2015.

It was to open in June but has been delayed until August

Opening Of Second Pedestrian Border Crossing At San Ysidro Delayed
Opening Of Second Pedestrian Border Crossing At San Ysidro Delayed GUEST:Paola Avila, vice president of international business affairs, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

A business delegation from San Diego to Mexico is just wrapping up today. Local officials are announcing some progress on issues that could make it easier to enter the US at the [Indiscernible] border crossing and travel within Mexico. The delegation is led by the [Indiscernible] of Congress it's the 11th such San Diego binational trade delegation. Earlier ice spoke with Paola Avila. Here's the interview. Thank you for having me. What initiatives have you been meeting with Mexican officials. Several but there are two in particular that are most critical because of the timing. One of which, the [Indiscernible] production crossing. It is a renovation project that's needed at a are busiest [Indiscernible] of entry. With the second one? The second one is the need for multiple reentry visa or multiple use visa to enter Mexico. Before we get into the specific initiatives tell us a little bit about who's on the strip. What names would we recognize? On the trip were 90 business and community leaders. Among those is our president Jerry Sanders, and then some of the elected officials with us are Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Mayor Mary Salamis, [Indiscernible] from internal beach [Indiscernible] and the mayor of [Indiscernible]. We have the consul general from the United States was pasted in [Indiscernible] and several state and local officials. One of the things you mention is his new pedestrian crossing at San Ysidro . It's been delay from lack of funding for Mexico. I believe that there's news on that. It's changed since the group is in a Mexico City. What is now the target date for opening [Indiscernible]. Is now August which is great have a separate. However, that is two months delayed from the original completion date of June. One problem has been solved, another one is addressing the two-month period until it opens and construction. So, finding a temporary solution is the second part of her at to see here advocacy here. Hopefully we will come to an agreement on what is a temporary solution to address the problem of the two-month delay. Tele-city what about what [Indiscernible] is. Currently we up one pedestrian crossing. Is quite congested. The of 70,000 pedestrians crossing the border daily. The part of this overall [Indiscernible] resid to a renovation including expanding the vehicle Lane is expanding the passenger crossing to add a pedestrian crossing on the Western side of portable entry known as ped West. We about pedestrian crossing on the East and on the West. In order for the current pedestrian crossing to be improved many pedestrians crossing on the West to be [Indiscernible] if we close down all the links on the eastern side have even greater problems than we have currently. With the intern solution that you came up with, the target date is now August, with the intern solution for June and July? There are several proposals. The state of Baja has come up with a temporary solution. It does address the concern, the congestion as well as financial concern. Were hoping that the federal government will improve the state of Baja temporary perusal proposal. It's rerouting the Western side to the passengers and pedestrians to cross at that point. We have been told that this Friday will be announced. That's a very important decision because once it is selected it will take us until June to implement a temporary solution. We don't have any time to waste to get this federal and those improvements. As you say this is part of an overall expansion and reconfiguration of the San Ysidro port of entry. Exposed to be completed in 29 team. To the delay is mean the whole project can be delayed? Possibly. Really talking about a couple months delayed. Not tremendous. It's not tremendous. The problem here is maintaining access to the port of entry. Making sure the flow of people is efficient. The other part of it is financial implications. There are construction penalties that would be applied by the US side for any delay. Those financial penalties cut into our overall budget that has been allocated by Congress for the construction. We can afford to spend any money than has been already allocated. To them we would have to make cuts elsewhere. Tell us about this other initiative that you've gained traction about this confirmation of a visa that allows for multiple entry. How is that can work? Currently have to get a visa that you select for seven days appear to be Mexico for seven days or proven to be in Mexico for hundred 80 days. Those are the two options. The hundred and 80 day visa has been a one-time use. You enter to be Mexico that long you at that one. You've not been able to use that visa for multiple entries for hundred and 80 days. Now we can secure approval for multiple entries. Using the back and forth. And our region between San Diego and [Indiscernible] in Baja California where commuters are crossing multiple times. Each time having to get a visa each time. It's quite a burden. It discourages backflow. Now this is the 11th time the San Diego chamber has led this initiative to Mexico. What difference do you think this annual trip has made for the relationship between San Diego and Mexico? At this time and there's been a lot of controversy on the national political scene it's important for our delegation to be here right now during this time of controversy and negativity to come with a very positive message. A united message. That the political, commercial, relationship with Mexico is very important to us. And so this delegation that speaks with the [Indiscernible] with that message and the message of [Indiscernible] to encounter from the negativity that has been relayed. I've been speaking with Paola Avila vice president of national business affairs for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. Thank you very much.

The addition of a second pedestrian crossing at the San Ysidro Port of Entry will be completed in August, a two-month delay from its original opening. That's one of the announcements made after a delegation of San Diego business and government leaders visited Mexico City this week.

"That is two months delayed from the original completion date of June, so one problem has been solved," said Paola Avila, vice president of international business affairs for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. "Another one is addressing the two-month period until it opens."

The San Ysidro port is the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere, with an average of 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians passing through every day, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.

Adding a second crossing, called Ped West, is part of $741 million renovation of the port that also includes improving the current pedestrian crossing and expanding the vehicle lanes.

With the delay of Ped West's opening, Avila said Mexican officials are working to find a temporary solution that will allow improvements to begin on the east side pedestrian crossing while construction continues on the new pedestrian lane.

Avila said Baja California officials presented a proposal to the San Diego delegation that would reroute pedestrians around the construction on the west side of the port. The Mexican government is expected to announce the temporary solution on Friday.

On KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday, Avila discusses the annual binational delegation trip to Mexico City.