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Pedestrian toll bridge proposed at Otay Mesa

An investor group involving billionaire Sam Zell
received a key federal approval needed to proceed
with its plans for a cross-border pedestrian bridge
that would link San Diego to Tijuana's Rodriguez
International Airport.


If built, it would be the first of its kind in North
America and give San Diego-area travelers easier
access to flights at the Mexican airport.


Last month, the U.S. State Department said it finds
"no significant impact" for the for-profit proposal
submitted by Otay-Tijuana Venture, which is led by
Chicago-based Equity Group Investments and
several board members of the company that
operates the Tijuana airport. Zell, a real estate
investor who owns the Los Angeles Times, is the
chairman and founder of Equity Group.

San Diego International, which has only one
runway, is expected to reach its capacity as early as
2025. Squeezed in by the Pacific Ocean and the
city's downtown, it has little room to grow. But
Tijuana's airport, which is immediately across the
border from San Diego, has a longer runway and
can provide more international flights, leading to
proposals for a cross-border facility.

San Diego aviation officials pursued a similar
project several years ago, but abandoned it. They
would be supportive of Otay-Tijuana's facility if it's
built, says Keith Wilschetz of the San Diego County
Regional Airport Authority.

The State Department says Otay-Tijuana's facility
would provide "a more convenient, cost-effective,
reliable and secure crossing" of the border and
eliminate "long and unpredictable border waits and
congestion" without compromising security.

The facility would include the bridge, a 75,000
square-foot building and a parking garage. It would
serve up to 17,000 travelers daily. The building
would house U.S. Customs and Border Protection
facilities, retail shops and offices.

The enclosed and secure bridge between the facility
and the Tijuana Airport would be about 525 feet
long and charge a toll for users. It would be divided
into two corridors that would prevent contact
between northbound and southbound pedestrians.
The project still requires local approval.

Posted: Monday, August 02, 2010 6:18 AM by Your Baja Connection Team


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