MCALLEN, Texas – Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority has a lot of consequential highway projects going on.
That is the only conclusion one can draw based on a power point presentation its executive director, Pete Sepulveda, made at a recent meeting of TxDOT’s Border Trade Advisory Committee.
The group met at the McAllen Convention Center.
“We have developed about a $1.3 billion system plan that we’ve been working on the last couple of years,” Sepulveda said.
One slide in the power point presentation showed a Donation Acceptance Program project currently under construction with Customs and Border Protection at Veterans International Bridge. “This project will add four additional primary lanes for CBP for passenger vehicles. That’s about a $20 million investment that Cameron County is making at the veterans,” Sepulveda said.
The Donation Acceptance Program allows local stakeholders to partner with the federal government to fund projects at land ports of entry.
Another slide showed a project known as Interstate 169.
“This is the last segment remaining. When this project is complete, the Port of Brownsville will have an interstate highway going to the main entrance of the Port,” Sepulveda said.
“So, we’re very excited that. Hopefully, a year from now, this project will be under construction and well on its way to completion. So, the Port can have an interstate highway (from I-69 East) to the port.”
Another slide showed the East Loop project.
“This is also an international trade corridor project that will connect the Veterans Bridge to the Port of Brownsville. This will be the new overweight corridor,” Sepulveda explained.
“The existing overweight corridor that goes through an urban area of Brownsville must be relocated for safety concerns in that portion of the city of Brownsville. We’re about 95 percent complete with the design this project. The environmental studies are about 90 percent complete. So, hopefully a year from now, we will have funding in place to be able to move forward with the construction.”
Another slide showed the South Padre Island 2nd Access project.
“We’ve been working on this project a number of years. We’re in the environmental phase and we’re hoping that in the next couple of years we can get environmental clearance and move forward, working with TxDOT and finding the necessary funding to be in construction on this project.”
Another slide showed the Harlingen Rail Improvement Project.
“Cameron County started a rail relocation project in the county 20 years ago. It consisted of five different projects and this is the last project that will allow us to complete the rail relocation. One of the projects that was completed during the rail relocation process was the rail lines through downtown Brownsville, which became the West Rail International Bridge that opened August of 2015. So this is our last project on a plan that began 20 years ago.”
Another slide showed the Outer Parkway project.
“This is one of three projects that will connect the Rio Grande Valley from Hidalgo County all the way to South Padre Island. So we’ll continue to work with TxDOT as our partner on this project.”
Another slide showed projects underway on different segments on US 77.
“There are four segments remaining along Kenedy and Kleberg counties to complete the conversion of US 37 to an interstate standard highway. I believe we’re about $230 million shy of the completion of these four projects and we will continue to work with TxDOT on these projects.”
Another slide showed a summary of other CCRMA projects.
“We’ve got about $60 million of projects that are shovel ready, ready to go to construction, and almost $200 million in projects that are under design. And about $1.3 billion worth of projects that are under planning and design.”
Another slide showed details on CCRMA’s Fuego Tag program.
Editor’s Note: Click here to read Pete Sepulveda’s commentary on the Fuego Tag program.
Editor’s Note: Here is an audio recording of everything Pete Sepulveda said at TxDOT’s Border Trade Advisory Committee meeting.
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