SAN ANTONIO, Texas – While on a trip to Texas that also saw him honored in the Senate Chamber in Austin, Tamaulipas Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca met in San Antonio with the management of the North American Development Bank and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission.
The meeting was arranged to finalize a work plan developed jointly by the state of Tamaulipas, NADB and BECC. Alex Hinojosa, NADB deputy managing director said the plan identifies infrastructure projects in the Tamaulipas border region that could “potentially be developed and implemented jointly” over the next few years.
“The North American Development Bank is pleased to work directly with Tamaulipas Governor Cabeza de Vaca and his team on the state’s capital improvement plan in various sectors,” Hinojosa told the Rio Grande Guardian. “This plan will provide us with a road map for the state’s priorities and we hope the NADB can help in the financial planning and in the financing of some of these infrastructure projects.”
Hinojosa said NADB Managing Director Gerónimo Gutiérrez, who has been nominated as Mexico’s next ambassador to the United States, and Cabeza de Vaca reviewed a work plan that contains a list of more than 40 possible infrastructure projects to be developed in the areas of water, solid waste management, urban mobility, renewable energy, energy efficiency in water utilities, energy transmission and border crossings.
Among the projects identified, according to a news release from NADB, are plans to “expand three border crossings for commercial traffic and eight projects to upgrade, institutionally strengthen and improve the energy efficiency of water utilities, in coordination with the cities and the state water commission.” The news release said it is important to note that 30 projects were identified in the water sector alone, including drinking water, wastewater collection and wastewater treatment.
Additionally, three technical assistance studies are under consideration for the cities of Reynosa, and Rio Bravo and for the State Government, as well as two possible solid waste management projects, the news release states.
“During the meeting, it was noted that this work plan is a guide and could be modified to incorporate other projects that may emerge based on more pressing needs, that may become a priority,” the news release states.
According to NADB officials, the idea for the work plan arose during a visit by the then Governor-elect Cabeza de Vaca, to NADB in August 2016 “for the purpose of reviewing the projects that were under development with NADB support and those that could potentially receive Bank support in the long term and be implemented during his six-year term.”
To date, BECC and NADB have supported the development of 20 environmental infrastructure projects in Tamaulipas, mainly in the areas of water, wastewater and wind energy. Altogether, these projects have received about US$454.2 million in loans and grants from NADB for their implementation.
Cabeza de Vaca recognized by Texas Senate
Honored by the Texas Legislature, Cabeza de Vaca highlighted the construction of stronger commercial and cultural ties between Tamaulipas and Texas, thanks to what he called “a new and unprecedented collaboration and communication policy.”
A proclamation offered by state Senator Eddie Lucio of Brownsville that was supported unanimously by senators bestowed recognition on the career Cabeza de Vaca has forged as a federal and local representative, mayor of Reynosa, Tamaulipas federal senator and, now governor of Tamaulipas.
Cabeza de Vaca explained how members of his administration were urged from the first day he took office to work on joint projects with their Texas counterparts.
“As many of you know, the economic engine between the two states is over a billion dollars a day. Perhaps this is one of the most visited and prosperous regions in the world, and yet we have a lot of work to do on issues such as security, trade, energy, infrastructure, agriculture and tourism, just to name a few,” the Governor of Tamaulipas explained to Texas senators.
Cabeza de Vaca said the strong ties Tamaulipas and Texas enjoy is not only due to them being neighbors, but also because their residents are partners, friends and, above all, family.
He reaffirmed his campaign promise to establish commercial offices in both San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley in order to not only promote commercial relations between both states, but also to offer services to Tamaulipas residents living in Texas.
García Cabeza de Vaca personally greeted all members of the Texas Senate; and he in turn received a gavel similar to the ones used during legislative sessions, from Senator Lucio.
After the ceremony, the Governor held a meeting with the new Texas Secretary of State, Rolando Pablos of El Paso. Palos expressed interest in undertaking large projects in the Texas-Tamaulipas region.
The Governor was accompanied by his wife, Mariana Gómez de García Cabeza de Vaca.
Also in attendance was the Consul General of Mexico in Austin, Carlos González Gutiérrez.
Editor’s Note: Rio Grande Guardian reporter Blanca Zumaya Escobedo contributed to this story. Photos by Ron Whitlock, Senate Media Services and NADBank.