HIDALGO, Texas – The mayor of Hidalgo says Hidalgo County Commissioner Eduardo “Eddie” Cantu has been a “catalyst of change” for his city.
Mayor Sergio Coronado spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Dicker Road expansion project.
Coronado recalled that in 2014 he was just starting out as a city commissioner. He said that was the year he first met Cantu, who had just become a county commissioner.
Coronado said Cantu said something very profound at the time.
“He said, ‘I want to make sure that every taxpayer dollar reflects accountability.’ His vision was very clear. He wanted two make a difference in helping Precinct 2 change its infrastructure through the construction of new roads, parks, drainage projects, bike trails and much more,” Coronado said of Cantu.
“As you can see today, that vision has been executed, day in and day out.”
Coronado listed some of the big infrastructure projects Cantu has been involved in. They include drainage improvements, the expansion of McCool Road, the expansion of Dicker Road, and an inclusive park at Valley View.
“I want to thank you for the dedication and support you have given to our community,” Coronado said to Cantu. “I want you to know that you have been a catalyst of change and great positive impact for the city of Hidalgo.”
Coronado pointed out that thousands of vehicles travel through Dicker Road on a daily basis. “This project will bring investment that will change the infrastructure of our community. We are very grateful to have the opportunity to work with you.”
In his remarks, Commissioner Cantu noted that the Dicker Road expansion has taken a bit of time. In fact, it was on the drawing board when Cantu’s predecessor, County Commissioner Tito Palacios was in office.
“Any time you have an MPO project, a TxDOT project, it takes years and years of planning. Years and years where you never see anything. You never see the ground moving but there is so much work behind the scenes,” Cantu explained.
Cantu said when his team got to work on the Dicker Road expansion project the projections came in $2 million over budget.
“That would mean that the precinct would have to come up with the $2 million. Not only were we able to reduce those $2 million but we were able to build this road… it seems like it took forever but it is just a lengthy process,” Cantu said.
Cantu said Dicker Road is being developed as an overweight corridor so it will be able to handle all the truck traffic that comes through from the Pharr International Bridge.
Cantu said he wanted to thank the business owners along dicker Road for their patience.
“It is really difficult to own a business on a road and then have a lot of road closures while we improved the road for the longterm.” He noted that one business owner had to close down for several months while the roadworks were proceeding. “I hope this brings tremendous amount of business to his beautiful place,” Cantu said.
Cantu said he likes projects that end up being financed the way the Dicker Road expansion project has.
“Here is the best part. Of the $17 million it has cost, $15 million has been paid by others, including the federal government. Only about $2 million came from the precinct. Those are the types of project we want to be building. Where we put a little and get a lot,” Cantu said.
Another cool feature, Cantu said, is that a few box culverts have been added underneath Dicker Road. “They are serving two purposes. Drainage and a tunnel that will be part of a hike and bike trail that will connect Hidalgo to McAllen and Pharr,” Cantu said, to great applause from the audience.
“We did not want to come back and have to cut Dicker Road, so we put the tunnels in and we are working on the plan to bring those hike and bike trails. We are in the development stage.”
In an exclusive interview with Rio Grande Guardian International News Service editor Steve Taylor, Commissioner Cantu spoke in depth about the Dicker Road expansion project.
Editor’s Note: The above podcast and news story is the first in a two-part series on the work of Hidalgo County Commissioner Eduardo ‘Eddie’ Cantu. Part Two, focusing on a new inclusive park in Valley View, will be posted in our next edition.
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