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McALLEN, RGV – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn visited the World Trade Bridge in Laredo and Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission on Thursday to promote his new Cross-Border Trade Enhancement Act legislation.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar accompanied him on both trips. U.S. Rep. William Hurd participated in the Laredo event. U.S. Rep.-elect Vicente Gonzalez participated in the Mission event.

Among the dignitaries at the Laredo event were Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz and state Rep. Richard Peña Raymond.  Among the dignitaries at the Mission event were Mission Mayor Norberto Salinas, Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, San Benito Mayor Celeste Sanchez and Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez.

Cornyn’s bill, sponsored in the U.S. House by Cuellar, has passed the U.S. House and Senate and awaits signature by President Obama. The bill allows all U.S. ports of entry to establish permanent public-private partnerships to boost staffing and make infrastructure improvements.

In Laredo, local leaders have applied for a public-private partnership to fund the relocation of FAST lanes at the World Trade Bridge and to fund related infrastructure and technologies for CBP to increase efficient flow of commerce.

At Anzalduas, the bridge board has used a public-private partnership to fund an increase in Customs staffing during peak times and holidays to promote efficient travel across the border.

The Rio Grande Guardian will update this story with reporting from Steve Taylor in Mission, Texas, in later editions. Photos by Steve Taylor.