BROWNSVILLE, Texas – State Rep. Terry Canales, chair of the House Committee on Transportation, says he intends to launch a port caucus when the 87th legislative session starts next month.

The Edinburg Democrat made the announcement during a virtual town hall meeting he hosted recently with the Port of Brownsville. He said more funding needs to be made at ports of entry. 

“We know that 18-wheelers, big rigs, consume pavement at ten thousand times the rate of a regular passenger vehicle. We know that we have a disproportionate amount (at border ports of entry); hundreds of thousands of trucks from the Rio Grande Valley to El Paso, where Lina Ortega is at,” Canales said.

“We know that those ports, including the inland ports, feed and move the economy of Texas. They are job creators with millions upon billions upon billions of dollars. They are economic engines.”

Evelina ‘Lina’ Ortega is state representative for District 77. An El Paso Democrat, Ortega sits on the House Committee on Transportation. She participated in Canales’ town hall meeting.

Other speakers included Eduardo Campirano, port director for Brownsville Navigation District, and Pete Sepulveda, executive director of the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority. 

“So, we have trucks that consume a disproportionate amount of pavement but we don’t get a disproportionate amount of money to build and outfit and maintain and preserve the infrastructure that exists arounds these engines and the reality is and what I have seen is – and these town halls prove it – we can’t live without the ports but we are underfunding the ports every opportunity we get,” Canales said.

“Texas can do better and we have to do better, from connecting the most basic bridges to actually getting an interstate to Brownsville, and connecting the lifeblood of, not just Texas but the nation.”

Canales thanked those who participated in the virtual town hall meeting. He said they had helped to shed light on the fact that oil and gas is important in Texas. 

“Oil and gas does not move without the ports. It stays in the ground. That is the reality and so there is a symbiotic relationship between the community we find so important in Texas and the port, which we continuously underfund.”

Canales added: “When this next legislative session begins it is my intention to create a port caucus so that all members who border and or have ports in their area can join and help me lobby the rest of the members in making sure that we understand that if we underfund our ports we are literally cutting Texas short and we are hurting the United States in general.”

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