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Highlights of San Diego TEA-21 National Listening Session
Corridors and Borders
San Diego, California
August 25, 1998

OVERALL: This session was organized by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and focused on issues related to TEA-21 National Corridor Planning and Border Infrastructure programs. Since the session was held in California there was a great deal of emphasis on specific Southern California projects.

Specific Issues: The situation at Otay Mesa is unsafe since the road leading to and from the port of entry is simply overloaded. The regional government in the area has proposed a series of projects (SR 905, going through Otay Mesa, being the one mentioned most often) to address the problems at the Otay Mesa border crossing. Representatives from the region indicated that they are looking to the Border Infrastructure program to help complete a funding package they have put together.

Congressman Bob Filner and others promoted a project to connect the Port of San Diego via the San Diego-Eastern railway to Mexico and the Union Pacific main line. They recommended that this project be considered for funding under the 'Corridors and Borders' program. Also, future problems at the Tecate-Baja California border crossing were discussed.

In general, the members from Texas and other parts of the country, including Arizona and Washington, focussed on the criteria in the bill that should be put in place to allocate funds to projects, instead of specific projects. Because the funding in the program is limited, many at the conference recommended that the Department of Transportation look at ways to get the biggest bang for the buck.

Specific Suggestions:

Criteria for prioritizing projects:

Almost all at the session agreed that projects should demonstrate interagency cooperation and the participation of a broad range of stakeholders, including cross-border partnerships where applicable. It was suggested that funds should be allocated using equitable criteria that is based on the language in the legislation. There should be an emphasis on "fix it first" looking to at least address current serious bottlenecks. There was consensus that applications for the program should have to prove that the proposed project would benefit the national interest. It was also suggested that corridors should support enterprise zones and low income rural and/or urban communities.

Specific Suggestions:

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