Construction at the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry will proceed despite the temporary government shutdown that went into effect on Tuesday.
Betsaida Alcantara, communication director for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), said the first phase of the $732 million, three-phase project to modernize and expand the San Ysidro POE has already received all its funding.
“At this time, GSA's Land Port of Entry construction projects funded in prior years will continue as planned during a lapse in appropriations,” Alcantara said in an email. “We have sufficient government personnel able to oversee the work at these projects during this lapse.”
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.
President Barack Obama said in April that he was going to allocate $226 million of the estimated $3.8 trillion federal budget toward phase 2 of the San Ysidro Land POE modernization and expansion.
The project broke ground in 2011 and completion of phase 1 is expected by September 2014, according to GSA.
It 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.
The second and third phases do not have a timetable because funding is still not secure. These phases will involve building nine additional 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 physically moving Interstate 5 westward.
Alcantara added that all GSA Land Ports of Entry, including Otay Mesa, will remain open and support U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) law enforcement activities during construction and the shutdown.
“CBP has advised GSA that Ports of Entry Operations, including CBP Cargo Security and Revenue Collections, will continue during a lapse of appropriations as these functions are deemed necessary for life safety and protection of property,” she said.