VideoGarza: How San Antonio can help the Valley move to one MSA

An exclusive interview with the mayor of Edinburg at a meeting of the South Texas Alliance of Cities.

MISSION, Texas – The City of San Antonio can help the Rio Grande Valley by advocating for one MSA for the region.

This is the view of Edinburg Mayor Ramiro Garza. He asked San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg to help at a recent meeting of the South Texas Alliance of Cities.

The meeting was held at the Center for Education and Economic Development in Mission.

MSA stands for Metropolitan Statistical Area.

“I think the discussion here is how do we work together as a region. How do we best position the entire region from San Antonio down to the Valley to best compete globally,” Garza said.

“So I brought up what we’ve been advocating for many years, which is the combining of the two MSAs in the Valley. Right now we have two MSAs: the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA and the Brownsville-Harlingen MSA.”

Garza said that, a lot of times, companies make relocation decisions based on MSA data.

“So, having two MSAs in the region really limits our efforts, I believe, in terms of competing globally. And so, in talking with San Antonio, I wanted to hear their thoughts, because San Antonio only has one MSA that encompasses eight counties. And we have two MSAs for two counties. It only makes sense to combine the four counties in our area (Hidalgo, Cameron, Starr and Willacy), our 1.4 million people together.”

Another issue that San Antonio can help with, Garza believes, is supporting the Valley’s efforts to secure funding for interstate connectivity between the Valley and I-37, which runs from Corpus Christi to San Antonio. The two north-south interstates the Valley has, I-69 Central and I-69 East do not make it all the way to I-37.  

“We’ve also advocated that for a long time. There’s been a lot of work that’s gone behind that, but that work is not done. And so we talked about also getting San Antonio’s support to complete the interstate system, from the Rio Grande Valley north,” Garza said.

“We need to extend that and complete it and there’s a lot of work still to do. It needs our continuous effort. But I think it’s important that we have that as part of our our agenda, to continue to advocate (for it) and I’m happy to know that my friend, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, is in full support of that effort as it will also benefit San Antonio.”

Garza added: “This is not about just something that helps the Rio Grande Valley. This helps the entire South Texas area. Companies in their area, companies in our area, as well as our recruitment efforts.”

Editor’s Note: Here is an interview the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service secured with Mayor Garza about the two topics, having one MSA for the Rio Grande Valley and having an interstate that reaches from the Valley to San Antonio:

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