MISSION, Texas – The City of Mission has settled on its top legislative agenda item for the 88th Legislature – securing funding for the $145 million Bryan Road-Interstate 2 Connector.
The issue was discussed at Wednesday’s Mission Economic Development Corporation board meeting. Mission Mayor Nori Gonzalez Garza and Mission City Manager Randy Perez were in attendance.
Interviewed after the meeting, Gonzalez Garza said the case for funding for the Bryan Road-I-2 interchange would be presented to state lawmakers on Mission Day at the Capitol. This event takes place Feb. 1.
“We are expecting over 1,000 trucks a day to come through our bridge and into Mission once the expansion of Anzalduas International Bridge is done,” Gonzalez Garza said. “So we want to expedite that traffic and get the trucks to their destination as soon as possible.”
The expansion work at Anzalduas International Bridge is expected to be completed within 18 months. Once completed, fully loaded trucks will be able to use the bridge both north and south bound. Maquiladora companies in Reynosa have been championing the expansion project for many years.
Asked about Mission Day at the Capitol, Mayor Gonzalez Garza said: “We have already sent some letters in advance to some of our legislators, such as Senator Chuy Hinojosa and Representative Terry Canales, who chairs the House Committee on Transportation. But we are going to visit all our legislators on Mission Day and hopefully get some funding.”
Gonzalez Garza said whatever funding Mission receives, the Texas Department of Transportation would be the likely conduit. “The Legislature has a surplus of something like $32 billion. We are just trying to get our share,” she said.
Gonzalez Garza also spoke about the regional nature of the Anzalduas Bridge expansion project and the support Mission has been receiving from neighboring cities for the Bryan Road-I-2 Connector.
“Expanding the bridge is not only going to have an impact on Mission and Hidalgo County. This is going to help Texas and the nation. Even Canada. We are excited about this,” she said.
“We are in partnership with our neighbors. The City of McAllen is on board with our legislative ask. And we have been working really well with our neighboring cities – Pharr, McAllen, Edinburg, Granjeno, Hidalgo. We have all come to the conclusion that anything that happens positively in any of our cities impacts all of us in a positive way. So, we are all working together.”
Teclo Garcia is CEO of Mission EDC. He told the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service that the 1,000 trucks per day projection for Anzalduas International Bridge is conservative.
“The projection is 1,000-plus trucks per day but I really think it is going to be more than that. Unless there is not enough personnel at the bridge to handle that, it could easily be double or triple that number. If you think about what Pharr does and what Laredo does, we know that 1,000 is a really low number,” Garcia said.
In his remarks to the Mission EDC board, Garcia spoke about the trend of near-shoring, with manufacturers based in Asia wanting to establish plants in North America to avoid supply chain disruptions.
Asked about this afterwards, Garcia said: “Expanding Anzalduas and building the Bryan Road-I-2 Connector is really important because of the near-shoring that is happening. Every time we turn around there is a new manufacturer announced in Mexico, whether it be a battery manufacturer or a car manufacturer. So, we have to capitalize on it. We have to understand who we are and that having an international bridge in your back yard is not something everybody has. We have to take advantage of that.”
Garcia said the total cost of the Bryan Road-I-2 Connector is estimated at $145 million. This was quoted on a powerpoint presentation made to the EDC board. However, Garcia said in his interview afterwards that the initial funding Mission is looking for from lawmakers would go towards the cost of preliminary work.
“We have to connect Bryan Road with I-2 in a seamless way, with a connector or flyover. It is our top agenda item this session, for sure. And so we are asking for funding for the preliminary work, all the engineering and design work.”
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