The mayors of San Diego and Tijuana on Thursday officially dedicated the historic cross-border airport bridge, which officials said has already increased air passenger traffic by 40 percent.
“This terminal has the potential to connect millions of regional passengers to destinations beyond Mexico,” said Laura Diez Barroso de Laviada, chair of airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico and an investor in the bridge.
Those destinations from Tijuana include Shanghai, a sign of the San Diego-Baja region’s growing importance in international trade.
“We don’t talk about two different cities,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “We talk about one region.”
Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazaran were joined by Rep. Susan Davis and the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Gil Kerlikowske, as well as top Mexican government officials.
“This is a historic step,” said Kerlikowske. “It’s another step also in the important work of moving people quickly and freely across the border.”
The Cross Border Xpress is a 390-foot pedestrian bridge to the Tijuana airport that costs $12 each way plus $15 a day for parking. U.S. customs officers in the terminal process passengers leaving and returning. The facility opened in December.
The bridge is symbolic at a time when Republican front-runner Donald Trump is calling for a giant wall along the Mexican border.
Mexican Foreign Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu, speaking in English, reminded those at the dedication that the United States is known for building bridges and tearing down walls, like the infamous Berlin wall that symbolized communism during the Cold War.
Faulconer, who is a Republican, called San Diego’s relationship with Mexico a “strength,” adding, “When we work together — the United States and Mexico — there’s no limit.”
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