SAN YSIDRO, Calif. (KGTV) – San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria crossed the Mexican border Wednesday to join Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero in calling for increased collaboration to address long border wait times and Tijuana River Valley pollution, among other bi-national issues.
Both mayors signed an MOU or memorandum of understanding calling for increased collaboration to address a number of challenges both areas face.
Among the topics expected to be discussed include the ongoing problem with the sewage from the Tijuana River Valley, which has forced the closure of local beaches due to high levels of bacteria found in the water.
Mayor Gloria says though $300 million have been earmarked to help clean up the Tijuana River Valley, earlier this year, the EPA released a comprehensive solution to fix that problem. But, it would cost $600 million. Right now, Mayor Gloria says it's about finding that extra $300 million to reach that total.
"Those dollars need to be raised from both sides of the border," said Gloria.
"So this relationship with that mayor is important for her to be able to work with her governor and president and me work with mine to provide relief from both of our cities who have had to deal with this for so long and has impacted their quality of life."
"More unites us than the walls that divide us, we are united by both cultures, we are united by the love for our countries and this region," said Caballero, translated from Spanish.
"With the signing of this MOU between Tijuana and San Diego, together we will build strong bridges of understanding in cultural, environmental, economic, touristic themes and many other areas we have in common."
The Mayor is expected to discuss immigration issues and the impact the pandemic has had on both sides of the border. The two cities will begin developing joint working programs to exchange information, develop a work plan and enhance cooperation between both cities. The two-year agreement is eligible for renewal upon its expiration in May 2024.
The City News Service contributed to this article.