State legislators call port modernization 'a welcome improvement' for San Diego region
By Jenny Ma
Ruth Cox and Anthony Kleppe meet with State Senator Ben Hueso whose district encompasses the
LPOE projects at San Ysidro and Calexico.
California State Legislators and their staffs were eager to hear about GSA’s modernization plans for the San Ysidro and Calexico Land Ports of Entry (LPOE) when they met with Regional Administrator Ruth Cox and a team of regional representatives on June 26 in Sacramento. Region 9 reached out to the San Diego delegation to promote awareness of the major economic, environmental, and regional improvements our reconfiguration and expansion projects are projected to provide. The delegation called the expected reduction in vehicle and pedestrian wait times “a welcome improvement for the region” and shared their experiences crossing the border from San Diego.
The San Ysidro LPOE is the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere and processes an average of 50,000 northbound vehicles and 25,000 northbound pedestrians per day. Currently, border crossing wait times can exceed two hours during the weekdays and extend to four hours on the weekends. These prolonged wait times have a significant impact on both trade and travel in the area.
One of the most exciting parts of the San Ysidro LPOE modernization project is that increased efficiency and enhanced capacity at the border will stimulate the U.S. economy by promoting transnational crossing and commerce while reducing harmful emissions from idling cars. It will also improve the lives of the many workers and students who cross the U.S. - Mexico border every day.
“This project is a huge win,” emphasized Anthony Kleppe, GSA’s regional LPOE project manager. “It represents a major investment in the San Diego region.”
GSA’s team also discussed plans for the new pedestrian crossing on the west side of the port, noting this is the first major improvement for pedestrian crossing at the border since the 1970s.
Regional Administrator Ruth Cox highlighted GSA’s success in engaging small businesses and creating jobs in the region. We’ve exceeded our small business goals for the LPOE in all categories, including women-owned businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, and minority-owned businesses. Outreach to local small businesses, regional stakeholders, and the community has been a critical strategy of the project from the beginning.
“At least 1,500 women and men have contributed to Phase 1 of the LPOE renovation through food and catering, construction, or other support services,” Cox said.
The San Ysidro LPOE project will not only improve functionality, efficiency and security at the port, it also demonstrates GSA’s commitment to sustainable design. San Ysidro will be “The Port of the Future” and is currently targeting LEED® Platinum certification with its incorporation of energy efficiency and water conservation strategies. The project includes a photovoltaic system, solar thermal panels, geothermal cooling and heat sink system, ultra-low flow water fixtures; rainwater retention and reuse system; and onsite waste water treatment system in addition to many other sustainable features.
The final phase of the San Ysidro LPOE and Phase 1 of the Calexico LPOE are currently unfunded but have been included in the President’s FY15 budget and have already passed the first hurdle of the House Appropriations Committee.
The San Ysidro and Calexico Land Ports of Entry expansion and modernization projects received strong support from the San Diego delegation as represented by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Speaker Emeritus John Perez, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, State Senator Ben Hueso, and Assemblyman Brian Jones.