All total, the department announced $54 million in grants to help insure the safe operation of commercial vehicles from Mexico in the United States and improve traffic flow at border crossings in the four border states, according to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
The funds were appropriated by Congress from the federal-aid highways revenue aligned budget authority to be distributed among the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas under the department's Border Infrastructure Program.
Of the $54 million, $2.1 million will be awarded to Arizona; $8.9 million, to California; $2.2 million, to New Mexico; and $40.8 million, to Texas.
The BIP is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Highway Administration initiative under which the federal government contributes 80 percent of the project cost and the four states involved pay 20 percent of the expenses.
Rep. Bob Filner, D-Chula Vista, said, "I've been fighting for 10 years for more support for the border. This is just one result."
The Otay Mesa Port of Entry in Filner's South Bay San Diego district will receive $2,852 million for upgrades, according to Filner's spokesman Erin Koch.
Calexico Mayor John Renison said this morning that he was glad to hear Calexico had been targeted for funds.
Michael Freeman, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization's director for the Andrade and Calexico ports, said the money will only be spent on commercial facilities at the Calexico east port, not on upgrades to the downtown port's pedestrian lanes or the private vehicle crossing lanes there.
>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 3370-3419 or firstname.lastname@example.org