PHARR, Texas – Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez says the high speed broadband service his city is installing will be as good as that offered any other municipality in the country.

Hernandez ran through a list of major projects the City of Pharr is working on when he spoke at the Pharr Bridge Board’s recent “Taste of Trade” event at the Pharr International Bridge. 

On the subject of broadband, Hernandez said: 

“Another project that we did for you, we also put in and are currently putting in fiber optics. In every home. Every business has the ability to use fiber optics on Everybody does. It starts at 500 megabytes.”

Hernandez said the speed of the service can be “as high as you like.”

He said: “Some people use a gigabyte but what’s important for you to know is that it is fully paid by taxpayer money already. We’re not raising taxes on you and you can utilize it. It’s great for commerce.”

For residential customers, the cost of the service will be no more than $30 a month, the mayor said.

“You’re never gonna find that kind of fiber optic infrastructure, that kind of quality, in any city in the United States. We did it because that’s what residents need and that’s what you need for commerce. You need something that’s going to protect your during a pandemic. When there’s shutdowns you can still sell over the internet, you can still communicate, you can still advertise. We want you to succeed.”

Much of the audience at the “Taste of Trade” event were in the fresh produce business. The event, which is held every Fall, celebrates the start of the fresh produce season. 

Hernandez said plans to double the size of the Pharr International Bridge are well underway, although he acknowledge there has been a hold up because of the supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic.

“We are pushing forward to make our community better in many facets. One such is, of course, we’re expanding the bridge. We knew you guys needed another bridge, and we’re fully funded. We’re ready to go,” Hernandez said.

“The supply chain has slowed everybody down across the world, everybody. So we’re not anything different. Obviously we are delayed a few months but we’re going to get it going. It is fully funded, ready to go. There’s no doubt what’s going to happen.”

Hernandez also spoke about major transportation projects.

“You see that Military Highway has expanded with the brand new US 365. Thank you, the state legislators. Thank you very much for the funding for 365,” Hernandez said.

“Also, last month, at the RGV MPO that we have now, we passed an historic $20 million towards the IBTC, the freeway that goes from Military Road and ultimately ends up north of Edinburg, right south of the (Edinburg) airport.”

Hernandez made clear that the IBTC will not be a toll road.

“It is considered a toll road but it’s not a toll. It is free. But it’s an expressway that’s made specifically for los campeones, right. It’s specifically for you guys to go north and south quickly, and you’re no longer going to have any reason to be downtown in any city in the Rio Grande Valley, because you can use that freeway.”

Hernandez said he was very grateful to the RGV Metropolitan Planning Organization for its $20 million investment. “Pharr is a member of the MPO and we led that charge. So we have $20 million now.”

Hernandez said it is no time for the state legislature to do its part and fund the rest of the IBTC project.

“I expect the state legislators, as they always keep their word, to use discretionary funding, to fully fund it. It may be $200 or $300 million. It doesn’t really matter. When they tell us they are going to do something they actually fulfill it. Rep. Guerra, Sen. Lucio, Chuy, you always fulfill it.”

State Rep. R.D. ‘Bobby’ Guerra and state Senators Eddie Lucio and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa were in the audience.

“We asked you for money for the 281 Interchange, which, quite frankly needed to be repaired 20 years ago, and we came up to you and you guys fulfilled it because you knew it was necessary for commerce and for safety and you did it. And that’s how we know the IBTC is coming,” Hernandez said, with his remarks directed at the state lawmakers.

Hernandez said the City of Pharr is “always looking out for” the business community and the companies that use the Pharr International Bridge. 

“So, those are some of the milestones Pharr is aggressively working on. They’re currently being done. Not pie in the sky. They’re being done,” Hernandez said.

“So, we’re very grateful. I’m very grateful to our (city) commissioners, without our commissioners nothing gets done. The key to our city has always been and will always be our staff. We have an amazing staff from the city manager down. We have an amazing staff. We have a great (bridge) board.”

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