Commissioner Kerlikowske's Remarks at the Cross Border Xpress Bridge Ceremony
Remarks as prepared for April 7, 2016
I am so pleased to be able to participate in the formal inaugural ceremony for the Cross Border Xpress (CBX).
I would like to thank Grupo Aeroporturario Pacifico; Otay-Tijuana Venture, LLC; and all the Mexican and U.S. officials present today.
This beautiful new pedestrian bridge is making history: it’s the first project to unite a site in the United States with a foreign country’s airport.
It’s both a problem-solver and a game-changer in bringing our two countries together and in keeping the flow of lawful travelers and goods moving – safely, securely, and efficiently.
In short, it’s great for the commercial interests in this region and for the many thousands of travelers who can now cross the border more easily.
The CBX was more than five years in the making, and I’m sure that local and regional businesses and travelers are excited about this new travel option.
And the timing really couldn’t be better.
Like so many other major metropolitan airports, San Diego International is challenged by capacity limitations.
It’s the busiest single-runway commercial airport in the nation – and the second busiest single-use runway in the world – topping 20 million passengers for the first time in 2015.
The single runway – coupled with the prohibition on pre-dawn departures and limitations on payloads for certain aircrafts – has limited the capacity of the airport to meet demand.
The CBX helps relieve some of those pressures.
It also provides direct air service to several Mexican destinations not available from San Diego because it lets travelers get on flights at the Tijuana Airport without having to cross at one of the area’s busy vehicle land border crossings.
That’s important, because of the 4 million travelers who deplane at the Tijuana International Airport each year, nearly half currently cross the border into the United States at some point during their trip.
The CBX bridge can increase that number by more than 350,000 over the next five years, according to some market demand studies.
As of March, in fact, more than 2,700 travelers arrive in the United States via the CBX every day.
With $1.45 billion in trade and nearly a million people crossing legally each and every day between the United States and Mexico, a healthy border infrastructure is vital to our shared economic, political, and cultural interests.
Thanks to Otay-Tijuana Venture, CBP is able to provide adequate staffing as part of an innovative public-private partnership.
And Otay-Tijuana Venture also provided all facilities, equipment, and information technology – they are to be commended for building such an excellent installation.
In closing, CBP is proud to be a part of this exciting new venture.
I want to applaud the facility’s sponsors and investors, as well as the Government of Mexico for bringing this collaborative project to fruition.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.