WESLACO, RGV – The new Rio Grande Valley MPO has voted to bring all of Cameron County into the organization.
RGVMPO was formed last year through the merger of Hidalgo County MPO, Brownsville MPO, and Harlingen-San Benito MPO. Cities like South Padre Island and Port Isabel were not in an MPO.
MPO stands for Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“When we were negotiating to form the RGV MPO we promised we would work to include all the communities in Cameron County within the new organization. We are delivering on that promise,” said RGV MPO Chairman Ambrosio Hernandez, in an exclusive interview with the Rio Grande Guardian after the vote was taken.
At this week’s meeting of the new MPO, executive director Andrew Canon reported that various cities in Cameron County had passed resolutions in support of joining the organization. They included Laguna Vista, Bayview, South Padre Island, and Port Isabel.
South Padre Island Mayor Patrick McNulty was in the audience to witness the unanimous vote to bring all of Cameron County into RGVMPO. McNulty has argued that being in the MPO will help SPI in its efforts to land a second causeway.
Asked if having all of Cameron County in the MPO will help the second causeway project, Chairman Hernandez said: “Yes it will. There are a lot exciting things going on in Cameron County, with Space and developing South Padre Island. We must acknowledge it is growing. We can now go to Austin with one voice for Hidalgo and Cameron counties. It is all about the region. The more TXDOT and the legislature hears that we are a united front, the more likely they are going to help us.”
Now that all of Cameron County is in the MPO attention will turn to Starr County, Hernandez said.
“Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña and McAllen Mayor Jim Darling are charged with getting resolutions from all the cities in Starr County,” Hernandez. “This is a great, historical endeavor for the Valley and the MPO. It is all about the region. The more TXDOT and the legislature hears that we are a united front, the more likely they are going to help us.”
Pete Alvarez, the TxDOT engineer for the Pharr District, is a member of RGVMPO. Asked how soon Starr County could be added to the organization, Alvarez said: “It took about four months to get all the resolutions of support in from Cameron County. I would think it would take about four months in the case of Starr County.”
Hernandez added: “Yes, Cameron County is now in. Starr County is next. They are part of this region. We are one family.”
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows RGVMPO Vice Chairman Eddie Treviño, Jr., RGVMPO Chairman Ambrosio Hernandez, and RGVMPO Executive Director Andrew Canon.