SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The San Diego Association of Governments, which is made up of elected officials throughout the San Diego area, just released a study showing how long border waits impact the region’s economy.

“What they found was staggering, shocking,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.

Dedina is also the head of SANDAG‘s border committee.

“As a result of extended wait times from people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between San Diego and Tijuana, we lost over 80,000 jobs, and we also lost $3.4 billion in economic activity,” he said. “It’s products not getting across in time, people not making it to their work in time. I think another issue is people choosing not to cross the border and make their purchases in San Diego or Tijuana, and I’m assuming this is the same in every border city along the U.S-Mexico border.”

The study also found changes and investment need to be done, otherwise, the losses in terms of jobs and economic obstacles will get worse.

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina is the head of the border committee with the San Diego Association of Governments. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“We have to increase spending on border crossings and make them more efficient to get commerce across. If we don’t do anything about it, it will have an additional $5 billion dollars in economic losses and an additional 90,000 jobs lost,” Dedina said.

Another issue, according to Dedina, is finding ways to get trucks across the border expeditiously.

“Huge volume of trucks come into the country from Mexico, so whether you’re in the Midwest, East Coast or Northwest it’s more than likely a truck is headed your way with American products that were made in Mexico,” he said. “If they’re delayed or they don’t come that will have huge impact on economic activity and jobs throughout the United States.”

And getting trucks across the border faster will help the environment, according to Dedina.

“Trucks are idling for hours creating some of the worst air quality in the United States … creating some of the highest asthma rates for children in border cities in the country, this is a huge problem,” he said.

Currently, the commercial side of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry is being remodeled to accommodate more trucks in a faster and more efficient manner.

A third border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana is being planned and is expected to break ground by the end of 2022 at a cost of almost a billion dollars. It will have the capability to process both commercial trucks and regular vehicles.

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