Officials sign agreement
Officials sign the toll revenue-sharing agreement. Courtesy of SANDAG

The United States and Mexico signed a historic agreement Monday to share toll revenue at the new Otay Mesa East port of entry.

Representatives of SANDAG and Caltrans joined U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and Supervisor Nora Vargas at the signing ceremony in Mexico City.

The agreement calls for a single toll collection point on the U.S. side of Route 11, a toll rate set by SANDAG, and designates the North American Development Bank as custodian and distributor of the toll funds.

“This new agreement, which I signed as a witness today, will bring economic prosperity to our cross-border region,” said Kounalakis. “The Otay Mesa East Port of Entry is a vital link in our nation’s supply chain and in creating thousands of jobs.”

The agreement comes just weeks after SANDAG received a $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for construction of the new border crossing facility and related transportation infrastructure.

Officials said the future facility will reduce wait times, curb emissions, power economic growth, and bolster bi-national trade along the busiest border region in the Western Hemisphere.  

“The signing of the revenue-sharing agreement for the operation of the new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry is another major step toward realizing a vision for border security and efficiency that’s been 20 years in the making,” said Gloria. “The reduction in border wait times will have a substantial positive economic impact and will improve quality of life for the people in our bi-national mega-region.”

The new port and associated highway infrastructure are expected to open in 2024.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.