A new Otay Mesa border crossing planned east of the existing entry could generate an estimated $14 billion in economic impact in the San Diego region for 10 years beginning in 2015, according to a study produced for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and released May 19.
“Businesses in general in San Diego County will benefit tremendously from more efficient trade that will come from the opening of the Otay II crossing,” said Ruben Barrales, president and chief executive officer of the chamber.
Benefits to the state as a whole would exceed $31 billion, according to the study done by UC San Diego’s Export Access research unit.
The study found that reduced waiting times for trucks crossing north into the United States could increase economic output to California by about $29 billion.
Counting the increased impact derived from more passenger vehicles crossing, total impacts would be $31.6 billion for the 10 years from 2015 to 2024, the report said.
The estimated cost of building a new crossing in addition to a two-mile connecting road, state Route 11, ranges from $750 million to $1 billion, said Gary Gallegos, executive director of the San Diego Association of Governments, a regional planning agency.
However, to jump-start the project, leaders are backing a bill by state Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny that would install flexible tolls at the crossing. The tolls would change according to the day and time, with higher tolls assessed at peak periods. A proposed toll range for trucks would be $8 to $10 during slow times, to $40 to $50 during peak hours.
For cars, the range would be 50 cents during the off hours to $8 at the busiest times.
, Mike Allen