The completed pedestrian skybridge from Otay Mesa to the Tijuana airport.
The completed pedestrian skybridge from Otay Mesa to the Tijuana airport.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Friday that national political rhetoric about Mexico doesn’t reflect the reality of bi-national economic success in the San Diego-Tijuana region.

“On the national scale…we’re seeing conversation that doesn’t reflect the reality of what’s happening here,” he said. “Our proximity to Mexico is not a liability but an advantage that we embrace.”

Faulconer spoke at the South County Economic Development Council’s 25th annual economic summit at the San Diego Convention Center downtown.

“It’s not about city boundaries or international boundaries; it’s about how we work together,” he told business and political leaders from Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City, San Diego, Tijuana and across the region.

Kevin Faulconer. Photo by Chris Stone

The mayor did not elaborate on the national conversation, but Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a giant border wall and both Trump and Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders advocated repeal of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Faulconer was in Washington early in the week to press for more federal investment in border infrastructure, and to join the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce in expressing support for free trade.

He said the Washington meeting focused on physical integration between San Diego and Tijuana, including roads, bridges and the ports of entry, pressing officials for “more resources at the border to help with the flow of people and goods and services.”

The mayor signaled out the new cross-border airport terminal, nothing that he used it for a flight earlier this year.

He said bi-national collaboration is made the San Diego-Tijuana region the world leader in medical device manufacturing, and he sees further economic growth.

“It’s working in San Diego,” he said. “It’s a competitive advantage for us.

Chris Jennewein

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