In the News

Four San Diego lawmakers are proposing a more than $1 billion solution to stop sewage from Mexico from contaminating South County beaches.

The four members of congress, all Democrats, announced the plans at a news conference Monday.

Their legislative acts would free up funds to pay for cross border infrastructure projects that would keep sewage from flowing up from the Tijuana River and the Punta Bandera treatment plant. The flow goes into the waters off Imperial Beach and Coronado, and has led to numerous closures.

"We have an emergency along the border. It is sewage," said Rep. Juan Vargas, whose 51st district includes Imperial Beach. "Let's quit talking about other things. it's sewage right here, let's do something. We need money, we have the projects. Let's get going."

Vargas, joined by Reps. Scott Peters, Susan Davis and Mike Levin, said the will to fix these problems comes down to funding.

A bill introduced by Vargas and Peters would increase the North American Development Bank's capital by $1.5 billion to finance infrastructure projects.

Additionally, Levin has introduced legislation to authorize $150 million a year for five years through the Border Water Infrastructure Fund.

Mexico would be expected to contribute to the projects financially, but there would be exemptions for financial or national security reasons.

Meanwhile, Davis introduced a resolution that encourages the Department of the Navy to take a leading role in the mitigation of cross-border spills that impact national security.

A spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter, the county's lone Republican member of Congress, said Hunter was reviewing the legislation and would support it if he can.