McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A series of virtual meetings to determine long-range highway and transportation needs to facilitate trade in border communities north and south of the Rio Grande kick off Tuesday night.
The Texas Department of Transportation, in conjunction with Mexican border officials, will have an online discussion on the needs of South Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas from 6-8 p.m. CST Tuesday. On Wednesday, the discussion will address needs in the El Paso-Chihuahua region, and on Thursday, a discussion will be held with Laredo and Nuevo Laredo stakeholders.
Tuesday’s public meeting can be accessed here. The meeting is being held in collaboration with the Border Trade Advisory Committee and TxDOT officials will discuss development of the Texas-Mexico Border Transportation Master Plan (Plan Maestro de Transporte Fronterizo).
“The master plan will identify the cross-border challenges of moving people and goods and will include analysis of existing transportation systems — roadway, transit, pedestrian, pipeline, airport, maritime and rail. The plan will analyze current and future transportation and will include a prioritized list of transportation investment strategies that support binational, state, regional and local economic competitiveness and improve the impacts of cross-border trade and transportation,” TxDOT officials said.
The 442-page draft plan was released Jan. 22 and contains proposals for improving rail, highways, aviation systems, pipeline networks, free trade zones and maritime systems along the Texas/Mexico border between the two countries.
Mexico is the United State’s largest trading partner and 68% of trade between the two countries pass through the border, the report says. Trade has tripled from 1994 to 2019 increasing from $173 billion to $615 billion.
“Given the past, current, and projected trends in population, employment, and cross-border movements, planning for the future of the border transportation infrastructure is critical to sustaining the movement of people and goods and continued economic prosperity of the Texas Mexico border region, the states, and the nations. Numerous challenges could influence the future, along with many opportunities,” the report says.
The public is invited to add their thoughts to TXDOT, which is accepting comments through Feb. 24.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com.