Alex Padilla and Todd Gloria
Sen. Alex Padilla (left) and Mayor Todd Gloria inspect the Otay Mesa East site in August. Courtesy of the mayor’s office

Local and state lawmakers have announced a $150 million federal grant to build a third port of entry in San Diego at Otay Mesa East to reduce wait times and improve bi-national commerce.

“I have been proud to support efforts to upgrade transportation infrastructure around the San Diego County-California border, and I am excited to announce that $150 million in federal funding has been awarded to the project,” said Sen. Alex Padilla.

“Modernizing our land ports of entry is critical for improving the efficiency of cross-border travel that is an engine of California’s economy,” he added.

The grant to Caltrans and SANDAG will fund a four-lane toll road connecting directly to a new, state-of-the-art port east of the current crossing, along with Customers and Border Protection and California Highway Patrol inspection facilities.

The plan for the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry. Courtesy SANDAG

Padilla recently visited the site of the project with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, and announced the funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation late Friday.

“The new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry is going to be a game changer for the San Diego region, for California, and our nation,” Gloria said after the announcement. “This $150 million in federal funding toward construction of the third port of entry for our region is an investment in increased bi-national commerce, shorter border wait times, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Rep. Juan Vargas joined in support of the grant under the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021, with Newsom citing its “transformative potential” for Southern California.

The new port and associated highway infrastructure are expected to open in 2024.


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Ellen Bullock