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December 22, 2016 12:30 PM, EST

San Diego Port Project Showcases TIGER’s Benefits, Officials Say

Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg News

A $20.2 million federal grant in 2010 for California’s transportation division and the San Diego Association of Governments to complete its Otay Mesa Port-of-Entry project along the border enhanced freight interconnectivity and mobility, officials said on Dec. 21.

The border crossing between California and Mexico has seen significant reductions in congestion after roadway capacity was augmented, Christina Casgar, a policy manager with the San Diego Association of Governments, said during a webinar DOT hosted. The webinar allowed officials to tout the department’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants program.

Since its completion, the border crossing project also helped to reduce emissions by cutting into wait times and benefited the region’s economy by increasing productivity, she added. The crossing accounts for a about 1.4 million truck crossings and more than $30 billion in goods annually, according to DOT. The American Transportation Research Institute found that in 2014 highway congestion accounted for about $50 billion in operational costs for the trucking industry.

“We cast this kind of as a last mile intermodal connector project that would help with the seamless connectivity that we’re looking for in the border region,” Casgar said.

Casgar emphasized California’s focus on improving air quality along their transportation systems. 

States seeking to tap into TIGER grants will wait until Congress authorizes funding for a next round of available funds. A funding law that expires April 28 maintains current authorized levels of funding for DOT programs.