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SANDAG Bi-national Trolley Extension

Project Name

SANDAG Bi-national Trolley Extension


San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)




The greater San Diego region is at the forefront in addressing global marketplace needs with its connections to important partners. The links between the United States and Mexico are of vital importance to the role in international markets. Accordingly, California-Baja California Border Master Plan is a binational effort to coordinate the planning and delivery of projects at land port of entries and the transportation infrastructure serving them.

Essential to this effort, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is updating a Draft 2025 Regional Plan to make transportation more convenient, reliable, equitable, healthy, and safe for everyone and also incorporates border transportation needs. The previous 2021 Plan started a process to develop regional mobility by evaluating a number of avenues including developing connector services that use innovation. In Phase 1 of this process, SANDAG requested Expressions of Interest (EOIs) that describe innovative concepts for a future Connector project(s) that addresses critical transportation challenges in the San Diego region. The EOIs were evaluated and SANDAG selected three teams to enter into Innovative Concept Development Agreements as Phase 2 of the Request for Innovative Concepts (RFIC) process. Cordoba Corporation was one of the selected teams.

Cordoba’s Role

Cordoba Corporation was one of the three selected firms invited to develop a more comprehensive conceptual design and cost proposal and participate in the Connector Concept Pitch Event in October 2022. At this event, the selected proposers presented their conceptual design to a panel of experts, regional stakeholders, and the public and participated in a Q&A session. Cordoba Corporation, in partnership with Sener, Rincon, Kleinfelder, Iteris, Fehr & Peers, Gruen Associates, Cal y Mayor, Kosmont, VMA, and MBI, was selected based on our proposal for a first-of-its-kind transit border crossing. The concept is to extend the Blue Line Trolley one mile into Tijuana, expand the San Ysidro Transit Center, build connecting pre-clearance border crossing facilities, and provide improved traveler information through Intelligent Transportation System upgrades. The plan seeks to optimize border infrastructure, enhance mobility, reduce congestion, improve air quality for border communities and those who cross the border regularly.

The Cordoba team put forth concepts for a LRT Line/Trolley extension to Tijuana via an elevated guideway starting at the proposed new elevated multimodal facility located northeast of the existing SYTC, and ending at the proposed new elevated multimodal facility in Tijuana, Mexico. The guideway would be part of the MTS LRT / Blue Line and add approximately one additional mile in length. The system could handle approximately 2 million passengers per year during initial operations but could expand to accommodate 6 million passengers per year. The proposed LRT border crossing project is envisioned to seamlessly integrate with the Tijuana-Tecate Interurban train project as a backbone of the transit network.

The Bi-national Trolley is envisioned as a public-private partnership (P3) with funding provided by both public and private sources. The current project concept is estimated at $520 million (2022 USD). Cordoba Corporation continues to engage stakeholders and seek funding partners. The team has met with officials at all levels of government at the local, state, and federal level and has received support to continue exploring the concept in coordination with SANDAG, U.S., and Mexican authorities.


Stakeholder engagement

Conceptual engineering

Capital planning

Regulatory analysis