Money swap with Dallas allows RGV MPO to speed up four-year Veterans Bridge project
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A project to improve inspection facilities at the Veterans International Bridge at Los Tomatoes in Brownsville is progressing four years quickly thanks to an innovative money exchange deal.
The Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization would not have had any money in the project’s budget until 2026, even though it is ready in spades. So RGV DFO Executive Director Andrew Canon approached other large DFOs across the state to see if they could help.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments has said it can help. They agreed to basically lend RGV MPO $ 14.6 million for the Brownsville Port of Entry project. If they hadn’t, NCT COG should have returned their money to the Texas Department of Transportation. In return, RGV MPO will return the $ 14.6 million to NCT COG in 2026 from its so-called Category 7 funds – interest-free.
âThis is a huge project that we will be pushing forward for four years,â said Canon, referring to the Veterans International Bridge project.
NCT COG has already approved the money exchange agreement. RGV MPO approved the exchange at a board meeting last Thursday. Now it must be approved by TxDOT.
RGV MPO President Ambrosio Hernandez said the Veterans International Bridge is one of the main entry points to the Rio Grande Valley.
âAny port of entry that is optimized more quickly is always a victory for the Rio Grande Valley. We are proud to have been able to help as DFO RGV move this project forward, âsaid Hernandez.
Hernandez said moving the inspection facilities project at Veterans International Bridge quickly is all the more important as the USMCA’s trade deal intensifies.
âThe more functional bridges we have, the better off we will all be. The more we get to trade, the more jobs are created, âHernandez said. “I congratulate the RGV MPO for the progress of this project and any other project that serves the entire Rio Grande Valley.”
Cameron County Commissioner David Garza is a member of the RGV DFO. He said the Veterans International Bridge project is important for the whole region.
âIt increases the capacity and the speed at which we can move trade and goods across the bridge and into the state of Texas and the rest of the country,â Garza said. âIt’s important for the mobility of products in our country from Mexico and we know there are bottlenecks in different areas. Some of them (trucks) are backed up for a day or two. “
Moving the four-year veterans international bridge project forward does a number of things, Garza said.
âIt gets the project done, but more importantly, it will save us money by doing it at today’s cost versus the cost four years from now. Who knows what those costs might be, âGarza said.
âWe don’t want to wait four years and then find out that the dollars we have aren’t enough to cover what we’re doing. It gave us the opportunity to take advantage of someone’s excess money. “
Garza added, “It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above report shows an inspection facility at the Veterans International Bridge at Los Tomatoes in Brownsville. (Photo: RGG / Steve Taylor)
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