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Local Binational Delegation Travels to Washington

By Ana Gomez Salcido washingtonDC

A binational delegation of San Diego and Baja California business leaders will head to Washington, D.C. this month to meet with legislators and policy officials to advocate for border projects.

The trip, organized by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled from September 25 to September 28.

“We have been doing this trip for over seven years and it gives us the opportunity as a binational region to go to Washington and talk to legislators about border issues, the economy on both sides, and other issues,” said San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders. “We are the only chamber in the country that does a binational delegation, so we get really good meetings because of the number of different people that are out there.”

Last year, 150 people participated in the delegation’s yearly trip to Washington, making it the largest group to date. This year’s trip is expected to have an even larger group of political and business leaders from the San Diego region. Sanders, a former mayor of San Diego, will again lead the delegation.

“Last year, we talked about border infrastructure and we talked to Customs and Border Protection about more help at the border to help expedite the crossings,” Sanders said. “We talked a lot about those issues including the pre-inspection on the Mexican site which went into effect,” Sanders added.

Sanders said that cross-border commerce will again be a major topic of this year meetings.

“This year we are also going to be advocating for the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Southbound truck route on La Media Road and the Southbound route for PedWest,” Sanders said. “We are also asking for help in the southbound truck route because [truck traffic] clogs businesses in both sides of the border because they are waiting a long time to cross.”

Sanders also said there will be meetings with legislators that are facing elections this year, and because of the presidential election, the trip is expected to garner more attention with a binational group.

The meetings already scheduled include Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Chris Lu, Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez, Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology Greg Winfree, Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti, and General Services Administration Administrator Denise Turner Roth.

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