Posted: 10:12 p.m. MST
The border-area's quality of life and economy were the topics of discussion Wednesday in Calexico.
California and Imperial Valley leaders, as well as a representative from Mexicali, met Wednesday with community members and experts to brainstorm ideas.
They say California is Mexico's largest trading partner, making more than $190 billion in imports and exports. But, they say, an aging border infrastructure affects all aspects of the economy.
"Specifically here in Calexico, in downtown Calexico. Because of the increase in wait times, you no longer have folks like at once you did coming over from Mexicali to shop here in Calexico," said California Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez, who represents the 80th District.
California Assemblymember Ben Hueso says he is working on legislation to ask the federal government to fully fund what, he calls, the unmet needs of the people in border communities.
"There isn't a really a government investment that is more important to creating jobs, improving quality of life, and improving border wait times," said Hueso, who represents California's 79th District.
One expert who spoke at the meeting gave an example of how long wait times at border ports of entry affect manufacturing, and therefore, the economy.
"A trucker may sit in line for two and a half hours. Many times we've been told by manufacturers that the uncertainty of when the trucker will get there affects their manufacturing schedule," said Jeff Kinsell, CEO of Kinsell Newcomb & De Dios, Inc.
Kinsell is interested in creating a private-public partnership to expand Calexico's port of entries.
California state leaders say they will take back this information to the state capitol to introduce new legislation to help the Imperial Valley County.