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New SANDAG Report Finds Border Delays Caused $3.4 Billion Drop in Economy, Including the Loss of 88K Jobs

February 26, 2021 -- Transportation Agencies Explore How Future Third Port of Entry Could Reduce Border Wait Times

On Friday afternoon, SANDAG, in collaboration with Caltrans and the Imperial County Transportation Commission, presented a new report on the impacts of border delays to the binational region. Local leaders from the SANDAG Borders Committee, the Committee on Binational Regional Opportunities, and the Municipalities and State Government of Baja California were in attendance at the virtual meeting.

The new report, Impacts of Border Delays at California – Baja California Land Ports of Entry, details how border delays harm the economy and environment on both sides of the border.

“Reducing border wait time and related emissions is crucial to the prosperity of communities on both sides of the border,” said SANDAG Borders Committee Chair and Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina. “This report demonstrates the tremendous positive impact a new, 21st century border crossing could have on the intertwined economy and environment of our binational region.”

The economic and environmental impacts from border delays in 2016 are equivalent to:
• The $3.4 billion in lost economic output is equivalent to the economic impact of nearly 23 Comic-Con conventions
• The more than 88,000 jobs lost is equivalent to nearly 2.5 times the size of Qualcomm
• Border delays resulted in an average of 457 metric tons of carbon dioxide each day, equivalent to consumption of more than 51,400 gallons of gasoline

The report shows that without additional enhancements to the region’s ports of entry, the estimated economic loss will continue to grow to more than $5 billion and more than 97,000 jobs lost by 2025.  According to the report, these losses could be fully mitigated with additional enhancements, including the opening of the Otay Mesa East – Mesa de Otay II Port of Entry.


During Friday’s meeting, local leaders also received an update on progress of one of the planned enhancements referenced in the report – the SR 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project, which is a joint venture between SANDAG and Caltrans, in collaboration with state and federal partners in the U.S. and Mexico.

“The Otay Mesa East Port of Entry is an innovative border infrastructure project that brings us closer to achieving our binational vision” said Caltrans District 11 Director Gustavo Dallarda. “Providing transportation options to move people and goods where, when, and how they want to go is an investment that will improve our communities, help our planet, and strengthen the partnerships in our Cali-Baja region.”

Construction is currently underway on the final segment of SR 11 and the SR 125/SR 11/SR 905 southbound connector ramps, which are part of the overall SR 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project.

The enhancements highlighted in the report, including the future Otay Mesa East Port of Entry, could also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by border delays. Emissions related to border delays are predicted to increase from 2016 to 2025, but would decrease in 2035 following planned improvements and phasing in of cleaner and more efficient vehicles.

The study was funded by SANDAG and Caltrans through a combination of federal, state, and local funds.

Read the SANDAG InfoBits report: Impacts of Border Delays at California – Baja California Land Ports of Entry

Read the full three-volume report: Impacts of Border Delays at California-Baja California Land Ports of Entry study

About Caltrans:
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Construction During COVID-19 Pandemic: Caltrans District 11 offices will be closed to in person business and are providing service remotely. Public works construction is deemed essential and our partners, contractors, and workers are following U.S. Center for Disease Control and California Department of Public Health guidelines at all construction sites. For more information about COVID-19, visit:

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or