$140 Million Ticketed for New Border Crossing at Otay Mesa

California Gas Tax Funds Will Pave Way for 10 Toll Lanes in Each Direction
Trucks at Otay Mesa
A parade of tractor-trailers line Enrico Fermi Place, a street minutes away from the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. (Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune via Tribune Content Agency)

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San Diego transportation officials celebrated June 13 the anticipated award of about $260 million in state funding to help complete the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry, as well as build a new rail bridge across Batiquitos Lagoon in North County.

The California Transportation Commission is expected to finalize the competitive award at its June 29 meeting, paying for the projects with the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. The so-called gas tax brings in about $5 billion a year for state and local agencies.

“These state grants are great news for the San Diego region and represent a significant investment in improving our community infrastructure,” San Diego County Supervisor Chairwoman Nora Vargas said in a statement.

The largest chunk of that funding — about $140 million — will help pay for the new border crossing in Otay Mesa. Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, aim to complete the project by 2026 but still need to secure several hundred million dollars in additional funding.

The new border crossing, connecting Tijuana to California’s state highway system, will feature 10 toll lanes in both directions for passenger and freight vehicles. San Diego officials inked a binational revenue-sharing agreement with Mexico last fall.

Highway sign at Otay Mesa

A highway sign points border-crossing traffic to state Route 11, which connects to SR-805 and SR-125. (John Gibbins/Tribune Content Agency)

Another $103 million in state transportation funds announced June 13 is slated to replace an 80-year-old wooden bridge over the Batiquitos Lagoon between Carlsbad and Encinitas. The new structure would be concrete and double-tracked to ease congestion along the coastal rail line, which stretches from San Luis Obispo to the Mexico border.


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About two-thirds of the San Diego section of the rail corridor now has two sets of tracks, allowing trains to travel in opposite directions without stopping.

“This important investment will expand multimodal capacity to the region,” said Caltrans District 11 Director Gustavo Dallarda.

State transportation officials are also looking to provide about $18.5 million for upgrades at the Port of San Diego, where surrounding communities suffer from the region’s worst air pollution. The money would go toward dedicated truck lanes and electric charging facilities at the National City Marine Terminal and Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in Barrio Logan.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled or grateful to Caltrans and SANDAG for bringing home vital planning dollars as we continue to pursue funding for construction,” said Rafael Castellanos, chairman of the Port of San Diego’s oversight commission.

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