The Southwest border authority would be formed for a similar purpose of helping economically depressed counties, according to Filner.
"The federal government doesn't know we exist or understand the unique situations at the border," he said Tuesday.
Imperial County would be one of the counties that would qualify for assistance.
While that sounds like good news for Imperial County entrepreneurs and government agencies who would stand to receive funds from a border authority for business start ups or infrastructure needs, respectively, Filner said passage of Reyes' legislation this session will be tough.
"We're putting in out there for future discussion. As Democrats in a Republican-controlled Congress we know they ain't going to take up much of what we want. We don't have any illusions," he said.
In addition to Filner and Reyes, the other three sponsors of the legislation are Democratic.
Filner hasn't yet enlisted the support of Imperial County's congressional representative, Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, and he isn't sure if Hunter has even heard of the bill.
"Sometimes the purpose of introducing a bill is to create discussion, start a framework for future action," Filner said.
He added: "Anything that brings the border regions into cooperation I support," he said.
In the past few years, the Appalachian Regional Commission has come under fire for mismanagement. The Columbus Dispatch, one of Ohio's leading newspapers, repeatedly has taken the commission's leadership to task for misallocating federal dollars to areas where the money is not needed.
Filner said the Appalachian commission isn't perfect but he likes the concept.
"Regional people are making the decisions. It's a good model," he said.
Since Gov. Gray Davis, or likely one of his appointees, would have a big role in any Southwest commission, Filner was asked if Davis has been brought on board as a supporter of the bill.
"That's a good idea. (The governors) should be included in some of the discussions. They become good lobbyists," Filner said.
>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or email@example.com