As dozens of political, business and civic leaders from both sides of the border looked on, the mayors of San Diego and Tijuana on Tuesday signed a “historic” memorandum of understanding covering binational projects.
Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazaran said Tijuana residents spend $6 billion annually in San Diego, adding, “We hope some San Diegans are going to come down and spend some dollars in Tijuana.”
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer began the ceremony speaking in Spanish, then continued in English, saying the two cities are “forever linked by our shared history, culture and challenges.
“This formal agreement will lead us to a new era of opportunities,” he told the crowd gathered on the top floor of the new central library in downtown San Diego.
Astiazaran, who spoke entirely in English, said the agreement would help the two cities exploit the “blessings shared by this mega-region.
“Today is a defining moment in the history of our two cities,” he said. “I consider this memorandum of understanding more than a document — a memorandum of mutual friendship.”
The memorandum commits the two cities to work together on regional planning, water, environmental protection, emergency management and other areas, with bi-national working groups and regular meetings. The agreement is for two years and can be renewed.
With a combined regional population of nearly 6 million, the San Diego-Tijuana region is only slightly smaller than the San Francisco Bay Area.
Faulconer noted that the two cities are already working together on a wide variety of infrastructure projects, including expansion of the San Ysidro port of entry, the pedestrian bridge to the Tijuana airport and the revival of the border railroad.