MCALLEN, RGV – The Rio Grande Valley Partnership hosted a transportation forum at the Double Tree Suites in McAllen on Friday, Nov. 15, 2109.

The event came about after U.S. Sen. John Cornyn promised Valley leaders that he would bring Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., to the region to address flooding issues on I-2.

Cornyn had visited the Valley last month to learn about the Valley’s drainage challenges. At a roundtable discussion in Weslaco, Cornyn learned that when the Valley experiences heavy storms, I-2 gets so badly flooded that it cannot be accessed in parts of the Mid Valley. Valley leaders told Cornyn that this makes a mockery of I-2 being one of the region’s evacuation routes.

True to his word, Cornyn brought Bugg to the Valley. In response, Bugg said the Texas Department of Transportation would own up to its responsibilities “100 percent.”

The transportation forum was significant because the six main speakers also brought up issues such as a second causeway for South Padre Island, the merger of the the Valley’s three metropolitan planning organizations, the impact on the region’s highways should the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement be ratified by Congress, and the potential of liquefied natural gas export terminals at the Port of Brownsville.

The six main speakers were Cornyn, Bugg, RGV MPO Chairman Ambrosio Hernandez, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., and TXDOT Pharr District Engineer Pete Alvarez. The emcee was RGVP President Sergio Contreras.

The above podcast, produced by Rio Grande Guardian presenter Mario Muñoz, features the remarks of all six speakers. Click on the link to learn about the additional highway infrastructure investment coming to the Valley as a result of the creation of the RGV MPO. Bugg said $2.2 billion would be allocated to the Valley under the Unified Transportation Program, up from $1.1 billion.