Border Infrastructure Wins at the Ballot Box
The elections held on November 6 gave a win/win to Otay Mesa. Win #1: Proposition 6 was not repealed. This proposition was a citizen’s initiative to repeal the gas tax which the state of California had put in place earlier this year. The California lawmakers had increased fuel taxes and vehicle fee by $.12 per gallon. When the legislature passed this tax increase, they indicated that the money was to repair state highways, local streets, and mass transit. They estimated that the tax revenue from the gas tax would be about $2.9 billion in 2018-19 and $4.9 billion in 2020-21. This means that the $80 million plus that was earmarked for Otay Mesa will remain place, and that future funding for our roads, transit and highways will be available.
Win #2: Measure O, also passed. According to the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce, this measure would allow the district to accelerate the construction of infrastructure projects in Otay Mesa. This measure will allow the Otay Mesa Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District to spend future tax increments now, on infrastructure projects. (If the measure had not passed, tax increments could only be spent as they accumulate year to year,) The district is now allowed to issue up to 230 million in bonds, allowing major San Diego infrastructure projects to be accelerated in Otay Mesa.”
Right now, the amount of two-way trade going through Otay Mesa is $50 billion – $33.3 billion in imports and $17.4 billion in exports. This is an increase of 9.8% and 9.4% respectively. SANDAG and Caltrans, along with other agencies in the U.S. and Mexico are working to expedite the construction of an innovative port of entry in the region with the objective of dramatically reducing border wait times. The State Route 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry (POE) project will provide fast, predictable, and secure crossings via tolled approach roads that connect directly to a new state-of-the-art POE serving both personal and commercial vehicles. The goal is to operate the new POE with an average 20-minute border wait time.
Local officials believe that these two propositions will enable improvements to the roads and highways to be made now and will also support jobs in the area, without raising local taxes.