WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Susan Davis, Congressman Scott Peters, and Congressman Juan Vargas announced that $226 million for the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry Expansion Project was included in the budget released today by President Obama. This money would allow Phase II and Phase III of the project to move forward.Reps. Davis, Peters and Vargas have been leading the way in urging the President to include this funding in his budget. The Democratic members of the San Diego congressional delegation, including Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, joined in sending letters to the President asking him to make the project a priority. Another letter is in the works asking appropriators to provide federal funding as appropriation bills begin to move forward for the upcoming fiscal year.
“This project is critical to the economic security of our region,” said Davis. “Doubling the number of lanes at the border will shorten wait times, increase cross-border commerce and create jobs. Promoting and sustaining economic growth should be our top priority. We can’t get there unless we make critical investments in our nation’s ports of entry.”
“Our effort to complete the San Ysidro Port of Entry Expansion continues and support grows stronger daily,” Peters said. “Recently, the General Services Administration pledged support for the project and, today, the president concurred by including funding to complete the project in his 2014 budget. I will continue working with the San Diego delegation and business community to advocate for the completion of this project which will decrease delays and accelerate cross-border economic activity.”
“The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry Expansion Project is critical to the region’s economic growth,” stated Vargas. “The completion of this project will facilitate the legitimate and efficient movement of people and goods at our port of entry, create jobs and promote cross-cultural partnerships. Investing in our nation’s infrastructure is imperative for a safer and more prosperous border region.”
The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry is the world’s busiest land port, serving more than 50,000 vehicles and approximately 25,000 pedestrian crossings coming into the country every day. In a 2007 study, the San Diego Association of Governments estimated that delays due to border wait times cost our cross-border economies $7.2 billion in lost gross output and more than 62,000 jobs.
In 2011, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to expand the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry. Mexico completed their side of the construction and opened the new El Chaparral border station on October 31, 2012. However, due to cuts in infrastructure funding, the United States has not completed its side of the construction.
It is now up to Congress, through the appropriations process, to fulfill the President’s budget request. Davis, Peters, Vargas promised to continue working together to fight for the completion of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry Expansion Project. Last month, Davis, Peters and Vargas were joined by San Diego business leaders at a press event to advocate for the completion of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry Expansion Project.