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Otay Mesa, CA Experts in Container Rental, Sales & Customization

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Southwest Mobile Storage - Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In Otay Mesa, CA

Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers is unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. Otay Mesa, CA offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether your need is for storage, office space, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back. Here's how:

Storage Containers Otay Mesa, CA

NO MATTER YOUR NEED, WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK.

STORE AT YOUR LOCATION

We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you'll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.

STORE AT OUR LOCATION

Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem - we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.

CUSTOM STORAGE

Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.

LOCAL MOVE

Take your time packing with our moving containers. We'll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you're ready to move. So, you don't have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.

LONG-DISTANCE MOVE

Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.

MOVING & STORAGE

We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you're ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.

OFFICE USE

Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it's faster and easier than building additions.

BUSINESS USE

If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we've got you covered. We'll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level

CUSTOM USE

We'll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You'll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you'll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard - our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don't have to pay extra for it.
icon-scale
At our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won't find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality - High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.

 Rent Storage Containers Otay Mesa, CA

SMS Mobile Storage Containers have these high quality features:

1/8" thick steel plate bottom side rails
High strength steel supporting cross members
1 1/8" thick hardwood floor with galvanized self-tapping screws
16-gauge corrugated steel walls
16-gauge roof
270-degree swing cargo door(s)
High security dual-locking system*
Spot-grinded, primed & repainted with a beige high-grade water reducible alkyd direct-to-metal enamel*
* Comes standard on all rental units

SMS portable workspace containers have these structural features:

High security window bars, lever & deadbolt set with lock box
Studs & R-19 Insulation covered with wood paneling
1 1/8" marine board floor is covered with a durable single part gray epoxy coating
Dual pane low-E horizontal sliding windows with screens and miniblinds
18 Gauge steel polystyrene core 3-hour fire rated personnel door
All of our workspaces are refurbished grade or better
Exterior load center operating on 100 Amp single phase 230 Volt power
Light switch, receptacles and 4' light fixtures; all wiring is Romex 12/2
CAT-6 voice and data lines with electrical junction box
HVAC units ranging from 1 ton to 2 ton on rentals; ability to customize up to 10 tons of cooling

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don't believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.

EVERY ONE OF OUR MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINERS FOR RENT IN Otay Mesa, CA, INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING SAFETY MEASURES:

High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.

COMMERCIAL STORAGE CONTAINERS TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY IN Otay Mesa, CA

When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

 Storage Containers For Rent Otay Mesa, CA

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.

WHETHER YOUR BUSINESS IS COMMERCIAL, HEALTHCARE, GOVERNMENT OR EDUCATION, OR YOUR INTEREST IS TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY SHIPPING CONTAINERS, SMS HAS YOU COVERED:

One
Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn't know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don't know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they're marking up the price.
 Mobile Storage Containers Otay Mesa, CA
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won't have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.

CUSTOM CONTAINERS FOR YOUR HOME IN Otay Mesa, CA

Building additions to your home can be very expensive and requires going through the hassle of securing permits and waiting for construction. You can save money, time and stress by modifying a shipping container instead. Whether you need additional space for a home gym, recreation or storage, we can convert steel containers into anything you can imagine. Our custom container gyms, man-caves or she-sheds, garages and more give you the extra space you need without the hassle, cost and wait that comes with home renovation.

Renting shipping containers for temporary storage, either when moving or dealing with restoration from a fire or flood, provides a secure, convenient way to keep your belongings close for accessing them whenever you need to. Plus, renting mobile storage containers for moving costs less than traditional movers and allows you to take your time packing, reducing the stress that comes from moving. You can also rent portable offices for your home to make working remotely distraction-free.

 Rent Shipping Containers Otay Mesa, CA

HERE'S WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE US TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY A SHIPPING CONTAINER FOR YOUR HOME:

With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we're able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don't have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won't have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don't have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings.

You won't get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you're always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don't always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in Otay Mesa, CA, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.

MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINERS & PORTABLE OFFICES TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY IN Otay Mesa, CA

We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in Otay Mesa, CA, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it's easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don't have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours - whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.

HERE'S HOW WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK:

You'll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you'll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don't have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don't have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don't know who's actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.

HOW RENTING A STORAGE CONTAINER AND MOBILE OFFICE WORKS

Whether you're in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we'll be by your side to work out the logistics.

HOW RENTING A STORAGE CONTAINER AND MOBILE OFFICE WORKS

1

DETERMINE DESTINATION

Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in Otay Mesa, CA. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.

2

SCHEDULE DATE & TIME

Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.

3

PREPARE FOR YOUR MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINER DELIVERY

Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It's a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.

4

DELIVERY & SETUP

When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT MOBILE CONTAINERS TO Rent, Buy OR Modify IN Otay Mesa, CA?

Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @

619.369.0295

Latest News in Otay Mesa, CA

U.S. adds more commercial lanes at Otay Mesa as expansion project continues

OTAY MESA —Leaders from both sides of the border celebrated on Tuesday improvements at the commercial truck processing area of the Otay Mesa border crossing as part of an ongoing expansion project.The number of lanes available to process cargo trucks entering San Diego from Mexico has increased from nine to 16, as a $134 million expansion and modernization project continues. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2023.Data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) show an increasing number of car...

OTAY MESA —

Leaders from both sides of the border celebrated on Tuesday improvements at the commercial truck processing area of the Otay Mesa border crossing as part of an ongoing expansion project.

The number of lanes available to process cargo trucks entering San Diego from Mexico has increased from nine to 16, as a $134 million expansion and modernization project continues. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2023.

Data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) show an increasing number of cargo trucks crossings at Otay Mesa.

In the 2019 fiscal year, 958,766 cargo trucks were processed at Otay Mesa. While the number dropped to 907,545 in 2020 amid the pandemic; in 2021, it rose to more than 1 million cargo trucks.

Those trucks imported more than $37 billion of goods in the fiscal year 2021 at what is considered California’s busiest commercial truck crossing, according to officials.

“This port is a regional economic engine, facilitating trade with Mexico, the United States’ largest trading partner,” said Commissioner Nina Albert with the General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service.

Last year, the port processed more than $50 billion in imports and exports, she added.

The improvements in the commercial crossing could not have come at a better time, said Alejandra Mier y Terán, director of the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce.

“The supply chains are changing, and we have more essential manufacturers in Baja (California) and Otay. We have more import and export food-related products crossing through our border, and e-commerce is booming in this region,” Mier y Terán said.

“So, what better timing to add commercial truck lanes than now,” she said. She predicts this expansion project, together with a second border crossing at Otay Mesa, will reduce wait times and accommodate the “growth that we’re seeing and the growth that is yet to come.”

A separate project is under way to build the Otay Mesa East port of entry, also known as Otay II, which is slated to be completed by 2024, or even ahead of time if possible.

Consul general of Mexico in San Diego, Carlos González Gutiérrez, said the increasing trade flow between the two countries reflects “how deeply integrated our economies are.”

“These trucks that bring products from Mexico to the United States ... trigger economic transactions that directly or indirectly employ millions of people.”

Rep Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, said “the next thing we really need to fight for is more staffing.”

Other improvements that have been made as part of the Otay Mesa expansion project are the construction of a commercial annex building, as well as the relocation of the enrollment center for border-crossing Trusted Traveler Programs (SENTRI, Global Entry) and the processing of the I-94 permit office.

Both offices are within walking distance of their former location at the Otay Mesa border-crossing facility.

As part of the next phase of the project, construction is under way to double the number of pedestrian lanes from six to 12 to improve processing capacity.

Binational leaders cut ribbon on Otay Mesa border crossing improvements

Federal officials marked the completion of commercial improvements on the truck inspection portion for the Otay Mesa Land Port of Entry Tuesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.The improvements, which included increasing the number of commercial truck processing lanes from nine to 16, were intended to expand processing capacity and improve sustainability."GSA (General Services Administration) embraces our agency partnerships which are enabling the accomplishment of multiple missions while having a positive economic impact on...

Federal officials marked the completion of commercial improvements on the truck inspection portion for the Otay Mesa Land Port of Entry Tuesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The improvements, which included increasing the number of commercial truck processing lanes from nine to 16, were intended to expand processing capacity and improve sustainability.

"GSA (General Services Administration) embraces our agency partnerships which are enabling the accomplishment of multiple missions while having a positive economic impact on the greater San Diego community," said Nina Albert, GSA's public buildings service commissioner. "Otay Mesa is a great example where we see traffic having an impact on the economy and community. Here, we've aligned sustainability features of design and construction plans with the culture of the community and its needs without compromising operational mission objectives."

The GSA just received $3.4 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for 26 major modernization and construction projects at land ports of entry along the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada. The ribbon- cutting ceremony, held atop the new employee parking structure, was attended by legislators from the binational community, federal officials and civic leaders.

"The Otay Mesa Land Port of Entry is an important part of our regional economy," said Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego. "Otay Mesa is one of the busiest commercial ports of entry, and these improvements will invest in more efficient flows of commerce and boost commercial processing.

"Expanding and modernizing this port of entry will benefit the economy on both sides of the border, and I'm proud to have supported this vital project from its inception to completion," he added.

Figures from the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection show an increasing number of cargo truck crossings at Otay Mesa with 958,766 in Fiscal Year 2019. According to the agency, truck crossings dipped by 51,221 in FY 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic raged, but crossings increased by more than 108,000 trucks last year.

This translates to importing $34 billion of goods in FY19, $32 billion in FY20 and more than $37 billion in FY21 at California's busiest commercial truck crossing.

"The improvements GSA is making continue to speed the importation of just-in-time shipments into the U.S., reduce wait times and vehicle emissions, and improve the supply chain by eliminating long-standing vehicular conflicts within the facility that have hampered commercial flows for decades," the GSA's Acting Regional Administrator Dan Brown said.

The full Otay Mesa modernization and expansion project — slated for completion in spring 2023 — has designs to double pedestrian lanes from six to 12, a relocation of hazardous material processing and rearranging operational space to reduce traffic, among other items.

"The Otay Mesa modernization and expansion project is creating a safer and more efficient facility to support our processing capabilities at one of the busiest cargo ports of entry in the nation," said Sidney Aki, CBP's director of field operations in San Diego. "This modernization allows our officers to continue protecting our nation's borders, while facilitating the flow of commerce between Mexico and the United States. Our agency is extremely excited to have this innovative project come to fruition here very soon."

Tijuana receives U.S. EPA air monitors as part of effort to clean up San Diego border region

The Border 2025 program aims to reduce air, water and other sources of pollution along the California-Mexico borderCalifornia regulators announced Tuesday the delivery of dozens of new air-quality monitors to Tijuana in an ongoing effort to curb pollution that wafts across the border from factories and trucks.Officials in Tijuana have agreed to operate and share data from the network of about 50 devices. The California Air Resources Board approved the distribution using $18,000 in grant funding from the U.S. EPA.&ldquo...

The Border 2025 program aims to reduce air, water and other sources of pollution along the California-Mexico border

California regulators announced Tuesday the delivery of dozens of new air-quality monitors to Tijuana in an ongoing effort to curb pollution that wafts across the border from factories and trucks.

Officials in Tijuana have agreed to operate and share data from the network of about 50 devices. The California Air Resources Board approved the distribution using $18,000 in grant funding from the U.S. EPA.

“This will facilitate the exchange of information on air quality in both regions and will improve our ability to enforce existing regulations on the matter, to prevent negative impacts on the lives of Tijuana residents due to pollution,” Alejandro Muñoz Gil Lamadrid, director of Mexico’s Environmental Protection Directorate, said in a press statement.

The city specifically plans to use the sensors to identify sources that generate high concentrations of fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5. The pollution, created by everything from diesel engines to commercial cooking activities, can exacerbate asthma and heart disease when inhaled.

“This has an especially heavy impact in the environmentally overburdened communities on the border,” Chanell Fletcher, deputy executive officer with the state air board, said in a statement. “This project can help provide near real-time information, helping to keep the public and border communities aware of local air quality conditions.”

Tijuana has said it will share information with California air-quality regulators on any actions taken to reduce emissions. That includes records of facility inspections and enforcement actions that are taken as a result of the monitoring.

“The overarching problem is that air pollution does not respect borders,” said Fletcher. “It travels from California into the Tijuana area and vice-versa, impacting border communities in San Diego and Tijuana that already are burdened with poor air quality.”

The effort is part of U.S. EPA’s program along the California-Mexico border, known as Border 2025. According to the agency’s website, the effort was designed to “protect the environment and public health in the U.S.-Mexico border region for the long-term economic, cultural and social well-being of present and future generations ...”

The EPA border program has four established goals, including the reduction of air pollution and improvement of water quality, the promotion of sustainable materials and preparation for hazardous environmental emergencies.

The program applies to roughly 2,000 miles of shared border and was negotiated with 10 border states and 26 federally recognized tribes. Officials have said that it has helped usher in drinking water and sewer services along the border at rates far above Mexico’s national average.

Disconnected South Bay Toll Stations Cost SANDAG $1.8 Million in Revenue

The San Diego Association of Governments may have lost as much as $1.8 million in revenue last year after someone disconnected toll equipment along State Route 125. Supervisors noticed the non-functioning equipment but failed to take action, officials say.SANDAG, the regional planning agency that operates the South Bay Expressway, said it will soon replace the toll stations. Officials are now monit...

The San Diego Association of Governments may have lost as much as $1.8 million in revenue last year after someone disconnected toll equipment along State Route 125. Supervisors noticed the non-functioning equipment but failed to take action, officials say.

SANDAG, the regional planning agency that operates the South Bay Expressway, said it will soon replace the toll stations. Officials are now monitoring daily traffic and revenue reports and will soon bring on a consultant to review the agency’s toll procedures, said deputy CEO and Chief Economist Ray Major.

inewsource is an independent and nonprofit journalism organization in San Diego, and relies on grants and philanthropists to support its investigative content. Click here to learn more.

Major told the agency’s audit committee earlier this month that the system was supposed to be replaced in 2007 and is “literally falling apart.” While crews have been replacing parts of the equipment to keep it functioning, he said, certain pay points that were out of operation “were actually the ones that were counting the cars and making sure we were collecting tolls.”

Four of the road’s 42 stations were disconnected over a period of nearly three months, officials said.

CEO Hasan Ikhrata said at a February audit meeting that senior management staff who are no longer at SANDAG were aware of the problem “but failed to report it out.”

“I take full responsibility for any screwup like this,” he said at the time.

SANDAG began investigating the non-working tolls after someone reported the problem to the Independent Performance Auditor’s office.

“It wasn’t that just, they got unplugged. It was that they got unplugged and they went unnoticed as far as the revenue impact of that,” independent auditor Mary Khoshmashrab said. “Which means there was a procedure missing that should have been there, which is to review reports on a daily basis.”

The South Bay Expressway opened in 2007 and runs from Otay Mesa to Spring Valley. SANDAG purchased the lease from a private company to operate the road for more than $340 million, and still owes about $180 million in bond payments.

SANDAG projects the debt will be paid off in 2042.

But there have been recent calls to stop collecting tolls well before then. Chula Vista Mayor and SANDAG board member Mary Casillas Salas wants a new financial plan that would end tolls by 2027, and state Sen. Ben Hueso introduced a bill earlier this year that would help SANDAG pay off its debt and put the road under the control of the California Department of Transportation.

California, Mexico sign agreement to open new Otay Mesa border crossing by late 2024

OTAY MESA —The governments of California and Mexico signed an agreement Monday committing to work together to deliver on time a new border crossing at Otay Mesa by late 2024.Unlike other ports of entry, such as San Ysidro and the one operating in Otay Mesa, this new gate would require a toll fee that would offer an average wait time goal of 20 minutes to cross the border.Currently, passenger vehicles and commercial trucks crossing the border between Tijuana and San Diego can endure tedious waits, harming business a...

OTAY MESA —

The governments of California and Mexico signed an agreement Monday committing to work together to deliver on time a new border crossing at Otay Mesa by late 2024.

Unlike other ports of entry, such as San Ysidro and the one operating in Otay Mesa, this new gate would require a toll fee that would offer an average wait time goal of 20 minutes to cross the border.

Currently, passenger vehicles and commercial trucks crossing the border between Tijuana and San Diego can endure tedious waits, harming business and the environmental, officials said.

“This new port of entry will not only spur economic activity, but it will also improve the quality of life for the millions of Californians and Mexicans who frequently cross one of the busiest borders in the world,” said California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.

“A great example of California’s leadership in combatting climate change. The project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve mobility in the region.”

Otay Mesa East, also known as the Otay II project, will help reduce wait times at existing border crossings and is projected to provide an economic boost of $1.8 billion annually, officials said.

With the signing of the memorandum of understanding, both countries commit to meet their respective construction projects, quickly resolve policy issues and establish a framework to share toll revenues for project funding.

“We know what it takes to get it done. We have certain milestones to meet, and now we have this document that memorializes our commitment to the project,” said California Secretary of Transportation David S. Kim after the signing ceremony Monday at the construction site in Otay Mesa.

On the California side, the $1 billion project has already secured $565 million in local, state and federal funding. The remainder is expected to be financed mostly through toll revenue.

On the Mexican side, a first phase investment of more than $186 million is contemplated for construction work and access roads, according to Roberto Velasco, director of North America with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last year, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador included the Otay II project within an infrastructure plan that seeks to reactivate the economy.

Velasco emphasized that this project is a symbol of the strong binational relationship. “We believe in building bridges not in building walls, and this is important for us in that sense,” he said.

“This is the future of the U.S.-Mexico relationship that we want. A future where we are more connected, and we allow for the many different possibilities that life in the border offers to both of our countries”.

Initially, Otay Mesa East will have five lanes for vehicles and five more for commercial trucks, with the option for these to be interchangeable depending on the time and demand, explained María Rodríguez-Molina, project manager with SANDAG.

Toll fees will not be collected at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection point, but “either through electronic pay” or in toll booths that will be placed within the U.S. on the State Route 11.

Toll collection will be for both northbound and southbound traffic. The revenue will be divided between the U.S. and Mexico, added Mario Orso, project director with Caltrans.

On the U.S. side, the project started eight years ago with the construction of the SR-11. Construction of the new port is now under way on a 100-acre area a few miles east of the current Otay Mesa border crossing.

In Tijuana, construction is expected to begin next year to meet the timeframe both countries established.

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