MISSION, RGV – If all goes according to plan, the construction of facilities to handle fully-loaded trucks going north- and south-bound across Anzaldaus International Bridge could be underway within the next two years.

This is the view of Rigo Villarreal, superintendent of bridges for McAllen.

Rigo Villarreal

“We are going to submit a proposal to Customs and Border Protection for northbound cargo and southbound cargo, probably in the next three to five days. Probably sometime next week,” Villarreal told the Rio Grande Guardian.

“We are hoping to get approval from CBP to use the Donations Acceptance Program. If we are accepted, we can move forward with the design and planning of northbound and southbound cargo, along with the northbound entry program.”

Asked how significant this is, Villarreal said: “It is huge because right now we are taking southbound empties and clearly we need to provide both north and south to be reciprocal with Mexico and to continue moving commerce and trade both ways.”

Asked if Anzalduas has the facilities to handle fully-loaded trucks, in other words to be a full-service commercial bridge, Villarreal said: “We are going to have to build some facilities and design it. So, the answer is ‘no, we do not have it yet.’ But we are going to design it and build it.”

Finding the funds to build the new facilities is now key, along with CBP approval to utilize the Donations Acceptance Program, Villarreal said.

“The most important thing is getting the money and getting CBP to approve. It is going to cost between $25 million and $35 million, depending on what the needs are from CBP.”

Villarreal said McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez is very good with numbers. He said he is sure Rodriguez can put a good finance plan together.

“Our city manager is very good with numbers so we are going to prepare a very good financing plan. We’ve got some local money and we’ve got an earmark of 50 cents on every passenger toll that we are setting aside every month as a little piggy bank,” Villarreal said.

“Roy is going to develop a financing plan to move forward. We are going to try to get some state money and federal money as well to see if we can all package it together.”

Asked about the timeline for Anzalduas International Bridge becoming a full-service commercial bridge, Villarreal said:

“If the proposal gets accepted (by CBP) within the next 60 days, we will start coordinating and planning, with the northbound empties proposal, I am thinking within the next two years we should have some construction started.”

Maquila plant managers who have facilities on the western side of Reynosa are very keen to see Anzalduas International Bridge develop as full-service commercial port of entry. Even though Reynosa now has a loop, allowing easier access to the Pharr International Bridge, INDEX Reynosa has thrown its weight behind the development of Anzalduas. INDEX is the trade association for the maquila association.