Mayors of San Diego and Tijuana Go to D.C.
San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum travelled to Washington, D.C. this week to advocate for the San Diego-Tijuana region.
On Tuesday, Faulconer was a featured speaker at a board meeting for the Border Trade Alliance, a nonprofit that aims to address key issues affecting trade, travel and security in North America. And on Wednesday, the San Diego Mayor and the Tijuana Mayor were both speakers at the nonprofit’s Building a Competitive U.S. – Mexico Border Conference.
“Trade and binational collaboration benefit millions of Americans and thousands of San Diegans,” Mayor Faulconer said. “San Diego’s position as a border city gives businesses and residents a competitive advantage that can’t be found anywhere else and we must preserve it. There has never been a more critical time to advocate for the fair and open exchange of goods and ideas.”
The conference focused on improving border management in order to strengthen the economic competitiveness of the United States and Mexico. Key topics for this year’s conference included transportation infrastructure, trade facilitation, workforce development, and the need for efforts that support both security and efficiency at the border.
“Together we have been able to build bridges of understanding for the benefit of our communities,” Gastelum said at the conference. “We are here together because we want to emphasize the importance of our communities in the binational economy, especially at this critical moment in which the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is about to be discussed.”
Other featured guests included Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
During Mayor Faulconer’s time in Washington, he was also scheduled to meet with officials from the: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The meeting with the EPA was to discuss its recent approval of a modified wastewater treatment permit that saves the City of San Diego $1.8 billion and paves the way for the City’s Pure Water recycling program.
The program uses proven purification technology to clean recycled water to produce safe, high-quality drinking water. It is one of the major sustainability projects that support Mayor Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan.
Mayor Faulconer was also scheduled to meet with DHS Secretary John Kelly to discuss the safety and security of the San Diego-Tijuana mega region. And there was also a meeting scheduled with HUD Secretary Ben Carson to advocate for changes to the federal funding formula for homeless services. San Diego has the fourth-largest homeless population out of major U.S. cities but ranked 21st in federal homeless funding received last year.