WESLACO, Texas – Both the Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Texas Department of Transportation are talking about “The Terry Canales Challenge.”

State Rep. Terry Canales of Edinburg is chairman of the Texas House Committee on Transportation. Canales ripped into RGVMPO at the group’s policy committee meeting in December. He said it was unfathomable how the MPO could have $300 million in the bank but was not moving forward with shovel-ready projects. 

Canales singled out transportation projects in Hidalgo County for particular criticism. There, it is claimed, shovel-ready projects are being overlooked in favor of pet projects championed by some elected officials that are a long way from being ready but which do require the services of consultants. The projects that are being overlooked have given a higher ranking by MPO staff.

As a response, the MPO has set up a working group that will report to the board each quarter on the state of readiness of each project. 

At the MPO’s January meeting, TxDOT Pharr District Engineer Pete Alvarez and MPO President Eddie Treviño, Jr., referenced the “Canales Challenge.” Indeed, Alvarez said TxDOT is going to shake things up in an effort to get projects moving faster.

Asked about TxDOT’s move, RGVMPO Executive Director Andrew Canon said: “They now are not accepting local contributions for on-system projects. On-system projects are state funded projects. Previously maybe a city or county would do the right-of-way work or the environmental portion for TxDOT. But now TxDOT are going to be doing it all themselves.”

Canon added: “Sometimes, with local contributions, projects are delayed so instead of letting them be delayed TxDOT will take care of all aspects of the project and hopefully get them out faster which is what Chairman Canales was talking about.”

Here is an audio recording of a key portion of the January meeting of the RGVMP policy committee. It includes the remarks of Alvarez and Treviño:


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