MISSION, RGV – Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña is looking for other cities in the Rio Grande Valley to get behind his plan to “save” the Mission-Hidalgo Madero International Bridge project.
A presidential permit to build a vehicular and rail bridge at Madero was granted in 1978. It is set to expire in 2021.
“Right now we are working hard to keep the presidential permit for the Mission-Reynosa Madero International Bridge. It is set to expire in 2021 so we are working very hard with the State Department to extend it ten more years,” O’Caña said.
The Madero Bridge would be located just upstream from Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission. A feasibility study estimates the construction cost to be just under $115 million. The cities of McAllen and Hidalgo have helped Mission with the project in the past but O’Caña wants to expand the potential partnerships.
“I think Mission, working with other cities across the Rio Grande Valley, can build a bridge of great regional import with a railroad component. The key part of this project and the key part of the permit is the railroad component. The nearest port of entry downstream with a rail link is Brownsville and the nearest one upstream is Laredo. We are in the middle. Talk about changing the world, this would do it for the Rio Grande Valley,” O’Caña said.
It is not only other Valley cities that can help, O’Caña explained.
“Not only are we asking all the other cities that have international bridges, such Pharr, which has a bridge, and Donna, that has a bridge, Nuevo Progreso, that has a bridge, McAllen and Hidalgo, which have a bridge, Rio Grande City and Roma. All of those that have ports of entry, we are asking them to support this project,” O’Caña said.
“We are also asking for the Governor of Texas to come on board. We are asking TXDOT in Austin to come on board. We are asking Senator Cornyn to come on board. We are asking for Senator Ted Cruz to come on board. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar has already told me he is on board.”
O’Caña said the Madero International Bridge would be the 29th port of entry on the Rio Grande in Texas.
Asked why so little has happened with the Madero International Bridge project since 1978, O’Caña said:
“The presidential permit is 40 years old. Multiple mayors have come and gone. I had the privilege of working for Arnoldo Ramirez, the initiator of the permit, back when I was younger. I have had the honor of serving the people of Mission and I have seen mayors come and go. Now it has fallen in my lap. I have been in office seven months. I can tell you 50 percent of my time working on behalf of the residents of Mission has been on saving the presidential permit, of securing an extension. We do not have much time,” O’Caña said.
Asked if the Andrés Manuel López Obrador administration in Mexico is on board, O’Caña said:
“My ambassador of goodwill has been to Mexico City. He reported back that they are willing to work with us, to put our project into their new border bridge plan. Keep in mind, they have had a big transition in Mexico. The new president is placing a big priority on building bridges and highways. He came to Reynosa. He has seen the huge potential we have for increased international trade. We have a goldmine here in the Valley with this trade. This is why this is a big regional project, worthy of support up and down the Valley.”