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Pharr, TX – Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez welcomed a congressional delegation with members of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives at the Pharr International Bridge on Monday, February 20, 2016. The congressional delegation toured South Texas and received a briefing from the City of Pharr officials regarding current issues affecting the area such as border trade, border security, and infrastructure projects at the international port of entry.  The delegation also received an official briefing from the U. S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (CBP).


The delegation included members from Texas, Nevada, and North Carolina. In attendance were Senator John Cornyn (TX), who serves as Majority Whip and on the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committee;  Senator Dean Heller (NV), who serves on the Committee on Finance as well as the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; Senator Thom Tillis (NC), who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, among others; Congressman John Carter (TX) Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations; Congressman Mike Conaway (TX), chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture; and Congressman David Rouzer (NC), who serves on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Agriculture Committee.


Members received an update on current bridge infrastructure projects in Pharr, including several projects under the Donations Acceptance Program, which was authorized by Section 559 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 and allows CBP, in conjunction with the General Services Administration (GSA), to accept donations from private sector and government entities for port of entry construction, alterations, operations and maintenance activities. The projects are part of Pharr’s 5-Year Master Plan to increase capacity, reduce border wait times, and support local and regional trade industries. Pharr Bridge Director Luis Bazan thanked Sen. Cornyn for his support of the 559 program to allow for the development of these projects; Sen. Cornyn in turn thanked his colleagues in attendance for supporting and voting to approve the legislation.


At the briefing, Mayor Hernandez introduced the congressional delegation to another project that Pharr is spearheading to prepare the future generation of public safety, law enforcement and border security officials – the Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence. The project is an initiative between the City of Pharr, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, and South Texas College, and will be an epicenter for education and training for law enforcement, public safety, criminal justice, fire science and homeland security. The project is scheduled to have its groundbreaking ceremony early next month.


“As mayor of Pharr, it is always an honor to have our nation’s leaders visit our community to get a first-hand look at how our area is directly impacted by policy decisions that are made in Washington, D.C.,” said Hernandez. “Pharr has been fortunate to reap the benefits of federal legislation and projects that have helped to improve infrastructure at our bridge,” he continued.


“With recent emphasis and increased interest in our border infrastructure, border trade and border security, and as we continue to see our border region in the national spotlight, we look forward to continue having have the ears and the attention of our federal representatives and their colleagues as they understand the increasing need for funding for transportation, education, and other initiatives for our area,” Hernandez ended.

Photos attached.

Photo 1 Caption: Congressional delegation visits Pharr International Bridge. (L-R) Congressman John R. Carter (TX-31), Congressman Mike Conaway (TX-11), Senator John Cornyn (TX), Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D., Senator Dean Heller (NV), Senator Thom Thillis (NC), and Congressman David Rouzer (NC-7).

Photo 2 Caption: Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. (right) welcomes U. S. Senator John Cornyn (TX) and congressional delegation at the Pharr International Bridge.

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