City of Pharr Hosts Texas Secretary of State and RGVMPO to Discuss Border Transportation Master Plan
Pharr city officials welcomed Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs and members of the Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (RGVMPO) Transportation Policy Board to the Pharr Events Center for a discussion regarding the Border Transportation Master Plan (BTMP).
During her remarks, Secretary Hughs announced that this was her first post-COVID trip in her official capacity, as well as her first visit to the Rio Grande Valley. She also shared that it was important for her to be present and part of the critical discussions as she presented the BTMP to the RGVMPO’s Transportation Policy Committee.
“The City of Pharr is proud to welcome Secretary Hughs and our RGVMPO colleagues as we work on implementing the BTMP,” said Pharr Mayor and RGV MPO Transportation Policy Board Chairman Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. “The RGVMPO has been proactive in collaborating with TxDOT, Secretary Hughs, our binational partners, and all our regional stakeholders throughout the entire BTMP process,” he continued. “This plan will allow us to seek additional federal and state funding for improvements for our bridges and transportation projects,” added Hernandez.
The BTMP addresses the needs, challenges, opportunities, and funding strategies, such as public-private partnerships, to move people and goods more quickly and efficiently across Texas’ 28 border crossings. It is estimated that the Rio Grande Valley will receive more than $11 billion to address the needs of the region.
In December, Secretary Hughs presented the 400-page BTMP to the Texas Transporation Commission. The completed BTMP is the result of joint efforts between TxDOT and the Border Trade Advisory Committee (BTAC), which the Secretary chairs in her capacity as Texas’ Border Commerce Coordinator. Pharr is proud to have two members serve on the influential BTAC, Cynthia Garza Reyes, Director of External Relations, and Luis Bazán, Pharr Bridge Director.
“There are some very vital regional projects that we are working on at the RGVMPO to improve our infrastructure throughout the region and enhance our trading capacity,” said Executive Director of the RGVMPO Andrew Canon. “Projects we have identified include the International Trade Corridor which will provide a new truck route between Pharr and Donna international bridges, the East Loop Projects in Brownsville, and the Madero International Bridge Project in Mission,” he continued.
After the discussion at the Pharr Events Center, Secretary Hughs and the board had an internal briefing at the Pharr International Bridge where they received a tour and overview of the City of Pharr’s bridge projects.
Expressing the need for funding to enhance infrastructure, Mayor Hernandez stated, “As Secretary Hughs was able to witness during our luncheon, we have made tremendous strides at the Pharr International Bridge in terms of expansion and bridge improvements.” He continued, “Our ports of entry and bridges are critical to the lifeline of our economy not only in the City of Pharr but throughout the entire Rio Grande Valley region, and we hope the BTMP will allow us to finally receive the funding we need to plan for a better future.”
In March, the Texas Transportation Commission approved the plan and now awaits its adoption by the board into the Unified Transportation Program, the state’s 10-year transportation plan.