San Diego leaders travel to Washington D.C. to lobby for infrastructure funding
A delegation of over 170 local and regional San Diego elected officials, business and nonprofit leaders went to Washington D.C. this week to lobby for infrastructure dollars. This is the 14th year the region has sent a delegation. The annual trip is organized by San Diego’s Regional Chamber of Commerce.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said in a news conference on Monday morning they have dozens of meetings scheduled with federal leaders to make the case for the urgent needs of the region. He and several other delegation members already met with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
"[The meeting] was really about not just shovel ready, but shovel worthy and kind of a notion we want to plan for projects that are going to have transformational change," said Gloria.
Catherine Blakespear, the mayor of Encinitas, who is also chair of the SANDAG Board, said funding a third port of entry in Otay Mesa is a top priority for the delegation.
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"California and Baja California are home to the busiest land ports of entry in the western hemisphere," said Blakespear. "Border wait times have a significant impacts on our region, causing challenges for our economy and our air quality — and also quality of life — for everybody who lives in the area."
Gloria said homelessness and affordable housing is also at the top of the list, saying, "Let me be extremely clear: In a nation, state and city as wealthy as San Diego, California in the United States we shouldn’t have any homeless people."
Gloria said securing funding for new housing projects and housing assistance will not just help shelter the more than 8,000 San Diegans who are on the streets now but also help the more than a million people who are rent insecure, and families live their American dreams in San Diego.
"We want people who are hard working and contributing to our economy to see a future for themselves in San Diego. That is economic prosperity, that is success," he said. "And that’s why we’re working so hard to bring the both the infrastructure and housing dollars back to San Diego."
Gloria said members of the Congressional delegation have secured over $107 million in the latest budget to fund community projects.
The delegation is scheduled to be there through Wednesday.