09.07.2023 | News Release

White House Senior Advisor Tom Perez Visits San Diego to Celebrate More Than $1 Billion for Major Infrastructure Improvements 

Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Tom Perez met with SANDAG, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, Caltrans, and other officials Thursday evening to highlight the Biden-Harris Administration’s investments in major infrastructure projects in the San Diego region.

“I commend the leadership of SANDAG, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, and Caltrans for the great work they are doing on the construction of the new Terminal 1 and the LOSSAN rail corridor. They are modeling how to provide good union jobs and transformational economic opportunity,” said Director Perez. “I am also proud of the collaboration between the city and county under the leadership County Chairwoman Nora Vargas and Mayor Todd Gloria to maximize the investments made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.”

Director Perez visited some of the project sites benefiting from the historic federal funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the American Rescue Plan, and other recent initiatives.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Director Perez in San Diego. His visit to San Diego is a testament to the regional cooperation and innovation that defines our county,” said SANDAG and San Diego County Supervisor Chairwoman Nora Vargas. “Through the vision and infrastructure investments of the Biden-Harris Administration has done in San Diego, we have received unprecedented federal funding to upgrade and modernize our transportation infrastructure here in San Diego. These vital investments, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will bolster various transportation enhancements throughout our region, including our projects on the nation's second-busiest passenger rail corridor, the LOSSAN rail corridor.”

SANDAG recently received funding for a planning study through the Federal Railroad Administration’s Rail Crossing Elimination program, which was funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This award will support a planning study to examine eleven rail crossings for separating rail traffic from the street network along the Los-Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor and will result in recommended improvements for each crossing between Old Town and Downtown San Diego. The existing at-grade crossings in this corridor, including Taylor Street, which Director Perez visited today, are ill-suited to today’s busy, urban environment, leading to numerous preventable fatalities and injuries.

Another project highlighted during the visit was the San Diego International Airport Terminal 1 project. The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority's $3.4 billion project will replace Terminal 1 with a larger, more efficient terminal. The New T1 project will offer up to 30 gates – 11 more than the existing Terminal 1. It will feature more gate-area seating, restaurants and shops, as well as an expansive security-screening checkpoint with more lanes and a host of energy-efficiency upgrades. The first phase is scheduled to open in late summer 2025.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to host Director Perez and his team at San Diego International Airport and give them a close-up look at the construction of the New T1,” said Kim Becker, President and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. “None of this would be possible without the support of our Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., which has helped us secure $304 million in federal grants to date for the New T1 project and related infrastructure.”

The project will also include a new parking structure with more than 5,000 parking spots directly in front of the new terminal, and a new on-airport access road that will remove up to 45,000 cars per day from Harbor Drive.

The Airport Authority has also set aside space between the terminals for a transit station that could connect to a project chosen by the regional transportation planning agencies. SANDAG staff presented a new alternative to the Airport Board this morning.

“The San Diego region has received more than $1 Billion in IIJA funding to date,” said Caltrans District Director Gustavo Dallarda. “From our International Border to our critical LOSSAN rail line, we will continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners on infrastructure investments for the San Diego Region that improve quality of life for all Californians and the nation.

As a result of the close collaboration between agencies, the region is committed to bringing more investments to move the San Diego region forward.