Editor’s Note: Border Crossings

"Bi-national" airport: The Cross Border Xpress pedestrian crossing on the U.S.-Mexico border

A preview of our July/August issue — and my trip to Baja with Mexico’s West coast consular delegation.

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I’m writing this post a few hours after touring the Cross Border Xpress, an enclosed pedestrian bridge that spans the U.S.-Mexico border in Otay Mesa.

The privately-funded Xpress, which connects directly to the Tijuana International Airport, is designed to expedite travel for the millions of airport passengers who face long delays at the congested port entry in San Ysidro and Otay Mesa.

The tour was part of a three-day trip to Baja I took with Mexico’s west coast consular delegation earlier this week. The visit provided a fascinating look at how Mexico is positioning its tourism, diplomatic and business development strategies in an era of strained U.S.-Mexico relations.

To read more articles about the trip, check back over the next week or so. I will be posting several stories chronicling the tour. (UPDATE: Here’s my first story, on the political role consul generals are playing in an era of strained U.S.-Mexico relations).

To read more about the airport expansion underway here in Oregon, check out our July cover story, to be posted tomorrow. The three-part article profiles the growth occurring  at Portland International Airport, from the $1 billion terminal expansion to the 14 new Portland brands lining the concourse.

cover airportIllustration by Joan McGuire, OB art director

Plus, frequent flyer Oregon executives tell us their best travel stories.

In our July issue we also take a look at some of the tactics Oregon employers are adopting to contain health care costs while boosting quality of care. As federal policy languishes, companies are redesigning insurance plans while implementing wellness programs that cut down on employee utilization of those plans.

In a globalized world, employers and health care executives might also stay alert to innovations outside Oregon and U.S. borders. While in Baja, I attended a presentation in Tijuana featuring health care entrepreneurs and developers aiming to grow the city’s already sizable medical tourism sector.

Their next goal? Getting U.S. health insurers to cover the costs of care for Americans who travel to Tijuana because medical procedures there are so much cheaper than in the U.S.

A real estate team is already moving forward with a gleaming new one-stop medical and hotel facility catering to American visitors.

Unknown 1The New City Medical Plaza under construction in Tijuana

Many of those medical tourists will travel through the Cross Border Xpress, which opened in 2015 and is undergoing an expansion to make the crossing even more efficient.

Infrastructure and health care are two of the biggest challenges facing Oregon and the United States. Solving these challenges hinges on the development of new business models and, of course, political will.

Increasingly, resolution of these problems also requires keen awareness of what’s happening beyond our borders — and the substantial investments many countries are pursuing, with zeal, in other parts of the world.

A version of this post appears in the July/August issue of Oregon Business.

*The trip represented the first ever gathering of Mexico’s west coast consular delegation.