Exclusive: Canales says Hidalgo County commissioners need to be stripped of some of their powers

WESLACO, Texas – In an exclusive video interview, state Rep. Terry Canales said that when it comes to transportation projects, Hidalgo County commissioners need to be stripped of some of their powers.


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Rep. Canales: Hidalgo County commissioners need to be stripped of some of their powers

WESLACO, Texas – If people thought state Rep. Terry Canales was only going to delivering good news at yesterdays RGV Metropolitan Planning Organization monthly meeting, they were wrong. 

Yes, the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation had positive information to share. He said he had helped pass legislation designating Pharr as a metro district. This, he said, will mean more resources and staff for TxDOT’s Pharr District.

Canales also spoke about the $150 million that is going towards the building of the International Bridge Trade Corridor (IBTC). This new funding was announced by Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this week.

And, Canales said he had helped secure an additional $20 million for the Pharr International Bridge expansion project. The Edinburg Democrat predicted the the bridge’s second span would be constructed fast.

But, Canales said he also had to deliver some hard truths that many in the room would not like. In fact, he acknowledged his remarks “may not be politically prudent or popular.” He proceeded to tear into Hidalgo County commissioners, saying they needed to be stripped of some of their powers.

“The reality is Brownsville and Cameron County are moving at light speed compared to Hidalgo County and that’s because we have a divided system in Hidalgo County,” Canales said.

“I have seen first hand what a unified transportation plan for a county does and how quickly they’re able to deliver projects. It is my request to everybody in this room, whether you represent a city, your county, whatever organization, that you pass a resolution urging Hidlago County Commissioners Court to move to a unified transportation plan.”

Canales said that if Hidalgo County’s transportation plan mirrored that of Cameron County the RGVMPO would be able to work more efficiently. He said because Hidalgo County commissioners do their own thing money is left on the table.

“The citizens of South Texas deserve it. We have let funding go that we’ve never seen before. We can’t even spend it fast enough. We can’t get our projects let fast enough and we should not be hamstrung by an antiquated system,” Canales said.

“I know that there are commissioners that may not like it, but the reality is we’re not here to do what we like. We’re here to do what is good for the region. And what is good for the region means us working in a unified plan from county to county.”

If Hidalgo County operated like Cameron County, Canales reiterated, projects would move faster.

“That should be the priority of every single person in this room. We were able to let go of our little kingdoms and merge this MPO and look what happened. Well, that’s what we have to do across the entire Rio Grande Valley.”

In a later interview with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service, Canales said if Hidalgo County Commissioners Court does not implement a unified transportation plan the Legislature would do it for them.

One Hidalgo County Commissioner was in the room. Commissioner Ever Villarreal of Precinct Three later told the Guardian he did not understand why Canales was criticizing Hidalgo County.

“Today I I believe we got $4 million for a project in Los Ebanos, working with the City of Mission. We got $2.4 million for Liberty Road (in Penitas) which might have been underfunded (before). So, I work very well with everybody. My doors are always open. I always answer my calls and I always return my calls,” Villarreal said.

“I don’t understand what exactly he (Canales) mentioned. But I work very well with everybody and I’m here to support any future work, whether it is in Pharr or anywhere else. Indirectly it benefits Precinct Three. If our neighbors grow, we grow. So I look forward to working with everybody. I have a very good relationship with everybody and look forward to continue to make our county successful.”


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