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San Ysidro land port expansion receives federal funding

Federal funds needed for phase 2 of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry infrastructure projects have been allocated in the recently announced federal omnibus spending bill, according to a Tuesday release from a contingent of San Diego's congressional delegation.

Representatives Scott Peters, Susan Davis and Juan Vargas announced that about $128.3 million in direct fiscal year 2014 appropriations was set aside for the project

The project will also receive $97.7 million in reprogrammed funds from previous U.S. Government Service Agency resources.

“Finishing the border crossing at San Ysidro is the top priority for our regional business community and securing this funding was my personal infrastructure funding priority for this Congress,” Peters said. “I feel a great personal satisfaction that working together we will improve efficiency, reduce wait times and help create jobs and economic activity in our region and our state.”

Phase 1 of the project broke ground in 2011 and completion is expected by September, according to GSA.

This phase includes relocating secondary operations facilities and installing temporary utilities; constructing an 806-foot-long pedestrian bridge; building an administration building and pedestrian walkway over the current primary inspection lanes; and building three 100-foot masts to extend from a 780-foot canopy that will cover lanes of traffic going into the United States.

Funding for phase 1 came from previously approved U.S. federal budgets starting in 2004, including $6.2 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The second and third phases do not have a timetable yet. These phases will involve building nine more northbound lanes (for a total of 34 lanes), adding northbound walkways, constructing pedestrian inspection facilities with added booths, adding a new plaza adjacent to the trolley station and moving Interstate 5 westward.

According to the San Diego Association of Governments, San Ysidro is the world’s busiest international land crossing, handling more than 11 million passenger vehicles, 68,000 buses, and 8 million pedestrians in 2012. SANDAG also estimates that delays and inefficiency at the border cost the region $7.2 billion in lost output and 62,000 jobs.

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