MCALLEN, Texas – Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez has laid out one of his longterm goals for the Rio Grande Valley – to become a substitute to the California seaports of Long Beach and Los Angeles for imports coming from South Korea, Taiwan, China, and Japan.

Finding an alternative route for imports from east Asia has become more pressing in recent years years due to bottlenecks at the Californian sea ports.

Cortez disbursed his vision in an exclusive Facebook LIVE with Rio Grande Guardian anchor Mari Regalado.

“If you look at the United States, the majority of Americans are the to the right, or to the east of the middle of the United States. One third of the imports are coming from the west, coming through California ports, which is basically coming from Asia. So, to transfer all those goods to the east coast, where most of the people are, once it gets to California, they are still going to have to transport them to get them further east,” Cortez said.

“So, where I think we could have an opportunity, is if those containers would be re-routed to Mexico, like (the seaport of) Maztalan, that area right below Baja California, we could work a deal with Mexico where there would be a rail system to transport those product by rail to us, here. Then, the entry way to the United States will eliminate (half the journey). You are substituting it with a port in Mexico, but it can become more efficient if it was coming to us.”

Cortez added: “We think it is an opportunity. It is a long term opportunity, but a journey starts with a beginning, somewhere.”

Cortez also took number of questions about his county’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, flooding and drainage, public corruption, the new Hidalgo County Courthouse, and what he is hearing from voters on the campaign trail. 

Editor’s Note: The Facebook LIVE show was co-produced by Lee Perez and Fred Sandoval, Jr.

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