Bonilla, center, announces takeover of toll plaza on Tuesday. Bonilla, center, announces takeover of toll plaza on Tuesday.

Baja governor takes over federal toll plaza; feds take it back

Playas de Tijuana toll booths were briefly in state hands until federal forces took them back Thursday

Less than two days after Baja California Governor Jaime Bonilla Valdez issued a decree announcing that the state government would be taking over a federal toll plaza, the federal government is back in control. 

On Tuesday afternoon the governor said the state would assume control of the Playas de Tijuana toll booths on the Tijuana-Ensenada highway. But well before dawn Thursday morning, around 50 soldiers and members of the National Guard arrived at the toll plaza and returned federal employees to their posts without incident. Tolls are once again being collected. 

Bonilla had attempted to wrest control of the stretch of toll road that runs from Playas de Tijuana to Rosarito from the Federal Highways and Bridges Agency (Capufe), place it in the hands of the state government and stop charging motorists for its use, an action Capufe called “illicit.”

Baja California Government Secretary Amador Rodríguez Lozano declared yesterday that the dispute with the federal government would be resolved politically and legally and that tolls would not be reinstated. 

“Under no circumstances will this collection return; the governor’s determination is clear and forceful,” he said. Bonilla’s decree favors the safety of Baja’s citizens over “the collection of money to defray the expenses of the federal government. The option is very clear, to be in favor of citizens,” he said.

“We care about the public. There are others who are not from here and who have only been interested in taking money to take it to Mexico City. We are not interested in that; we believe that the governor’s decree is based on law,” Rodríguez added.

Capufe accused Bonilla of damage to and interruption and deterioration of the highway and accused him of violating federal laws and the constitution. The governor could face legal action and fines.

Source: La Jornada (sp), El Sol de Tijuana (sp), El Imparcial (sp), Proceso (sp)

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