McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A recent meeting by Texas and Mexican officials highlighted the need for expanding transportation corridors along the South Texas border to better foster trade between the two nations.

The Border Trade Advisory Committee met Tuesday in Austin to find solutions to cross-border infrastructure challenges so more goods and services can be exchanged across the Rio Grande.

Texas Secretary of State John Scott said the committee, which includes members of the Texas Department of Transportation and private stakeholders from throughout the Texas-Mexico border region, is looking for ways to lure more businesses and supply lines away from Asian markets. This is especially important as supply chains currently are backlogged and delivery of services impeded worldwide.

They also are in the process of implementing the Texas-Mexico Border Transportation Master Plan, which was released in March 2021.

According to the report, the Texas-Mexico corridor is “North America’s busiest trade gateway,” and where over $451 billion in goods crossed in 2019, up 120% from 111 billion in 1994.

By 2050, an estimated 112.4 million people are expected to cross the border.

However, “without the efficient flow of people and goods, the competitiveness of trade between the U.S. and Mexico will be negatively impacted,” the report found. And that means improving transportation routes, specifically in key areas like the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, and areas leading to Eagle Pass, Texas.

(Graphic by Texas/Mexico Border Transportation Master Plan 2021 Report)

The greatest increase in cross-border traffic, 48%, is forecast to occur in the Rio Grande Valley and border region with Tamaulipas, Mexico.

El Paso and Juarez, Mexico, are expected to increase by 27.6%.

Ensuring growth will require improving transportation routes along U.S. Highway 83 in the Rio Grande Valley and U.S. Highway 57 in Eagle Pass.

“It’s more important than ever that we maintain strong relationships with the Mexican states that border Texas so that we can align our transportation infrastructure priorities for the coming years and decades,” Scott said. “Communication with our Mexican partners is critical for us right now to maintain secure and efficient flows of commerce, and address issues when they arise.”