Local lawmakers announced that the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) would receive a $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to support the construction of the Otay Mesa East Land Port of Entry.
On Thursday, the Biden administration awarded $1.5 billion for transportation projects across the nation funded by the Infrastructure For Rebuilding America grant Program. The Otay Mesa East Land Port Of Entry Project was selected along with several others to receive a portion of that grant.
"Today we are announcing transformative investments in our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, and rail to improve the way Americans get around and help lower the costs of shipping goods,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Using funding from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are able to support more excellent community-led projects this year than ever before."
According to Sen. Alex Padilla, the DOT grant supports related transportation infrastructure along the California-Mexico border in San Diego County. The grant will fund a four-lane toll connecting directly to a new, state-of-the-art port east of the current crossing, along with Customers and Border Protection and California Highway Patrol inspection facilities.
“I have been proud to support efforts to upgrade transportation infrastructure around the San Diego County-California border, and I am excited to announce that $150 million in federal funding has been awarded to the project,” said Senator Padilla. “Modernizing our land ports of entry is critical for improving the efficiency of cross-border travel that is an engine of California’s economy. Investing in our border region is important as we work to rebuild equitably from the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Along with the new port of entry and associated highway infrastructure, the project includes inspection equipment for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, zero-emission chargers for staff vehicles, a commercial vehicle enforcement facility to be used by the California Highway Patrol and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and deployment of systems to support efficient traffic management throughout the port of entry.
“The new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry is going to be a game changer for the San Diego region, for California, and our nation,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “This $150 million in federal funding toward construction of the third port of entry for our region is an investment in increased binational commerce, shorter border wait times, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”
Local leaders broke ground on Otay mesa East in August. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2024.