SANDAG to Tackle Border Needs

By Marinee Zavala 

SANDAG’s Border Committee has a new Chair who, together with representatives from throughout San Diego, the counties of Orange and Riverside, representatives of 17 Native American tribes, and delegates from the country of Mexico, are working together to plan and identify challenges faced by one of the largest economic and trade zones in the world.
Mexico and the lower part of Southern California already have significant plans, including expediting border-crossings, Port of Entry infrastructure, improving air quality, and others to improve conditions for the area; this is the result of many years of working together to increase trade and improve security for people on both sides of the border.
“Another example of the projects and improvements we work on is our work at border crossings exchanging information with Customs and Border Protection; as a regional government, we also have an initiative for the construction of a new Port of Entry, and it was SANDAG and Caltrans who were the main project sponsors. So far, we have been the ones to take the initiative, and the financial burden,” shared Hector Vanegas, Border Programs Coordinator at SANDAG.
Serge Dedina, mayor of Imperial Beach, was appointed by County Supervisor and SANDAG Board of Directors Chair Ron Roberts to chair the new SANDAG Borders Committee, stating that his many years of work on border issues would be of great help in fighting policies to militarize the border and addressing the needs of the San Diego and Baja California communities.
“Washington, D.C. and Mexico City are somewhat far away from the reality of the border region; I have already met with the Mayor of Tijuana, and soon we will meet with Rosarito, Ensenada, and Tecate to try to improve quality of life on both sides of the border, particularly on issues we need to work together with Mexico on,” said Dedina.
Hector Vanegas also highlighted the work this Committee has done over the past 15 years, working together as a region month after month, as they have done since their first meeting back in February, 2002.
“We opted to take the initiative to build border crossings such as Otay Mesa II, for instance, because that’s what our region needs in order to be more competitive,” added Hector Vanegas.
The next meeting of SANDAG’s Border Committee is scheduled for March 24, and representatives from Tijuana, Tecate, Rosarito, and the State of Baja California are expected to attend to discuss the future of the region and upcoming transportation opportunities.

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