DONNA, RGV – Ernesto Silva, a consultant to the City of Donna, says the Donna-Río Bravo International Bridge should be fully operational by 2018 or 2020.

Ernesto Silva
Ernesto Silva

Silva says the federal government has already given permission for southbound empty trucks to use the bridge, which is otherwise known as the Alliance International Bridge. Next comes permission for northbound empty trucks and finally fully-loaded trucks.

“Southbound trucks, empty trucks, have already been approved by the federal government. We are in the process of finalizing the construction plans, so the federal government can give us the go ahead to construct the facilities. But, they have already approved for empty trucks to go southbound,” Silva said.

“We are waiting for a diplomatic note to be exchanged with Mexico. We expect in that diplomatic note that Mexico will ask for northbound empty trucks. We are hoping that we will be able to also negotiate a timeline to have fully-loaded trucks cross as part of that diplomatic note. We expect that by 2018-2020 that we will have a fully functioning port for both empty and loaded trucks.”

Silva said much credit should go to state Rep. Armando ‘Mando’ Martinez for helping secure state funding for the southbound inspection facilities.

“Thanks to Representative Martinez and TxDOT we were able to get a $15 million grant to construct a southbound inspection facility. Otherwise the city would have had to go out and finance that. We are very grateful to Representative Martinez.”

Silva made his remarks at a business development forum hosted by the Donna-Rio Bravo International Alliance. The event was held at Victoria Palms in Donna. Rep. Martinez spoke at the event, as did Rafael Ángel Ortiz Salazar, an undersecretary in the Tamaulipas department of economic development and tourism. The State of Tamaulipas owns the Mexican side of the Donna-Río Bravo International Bridge.

Ortiz Salazar urged Donna and Río Bravo city officials to work more closely on marketing efforts.

“The productivity of one city helps the other city. The growth of one city helps the other one. So, Donna and Río Bravo should work more closely together,” Ortiz Salazar told the Rio Grande Guardian, at the end of his remarks.

“A good example of cities working together is McAllen and Reynosa. For every ten workers created in Reynosa, one is created in McAllen. That is how closely their two economies are tied. We need to work together, to promote each other. At the same time that you talk about Río Bravo you have to talk about Donna. At the same time that you talk about Donna you have to talk about Río Bravo. Today’s meeting shows the will is there. They have to start making events together.”

Donna Mayor Irene Muñoz said Donna and Rio Bravo officials plan to work more closely together, particularly when it comes to marketing. “When we go to the big trade conferences in Las Vegas, let’s do a joint booklet with what Rio Bravo has to offer, not just Donna. There are 130,000 people in Rio Bravo. Let’s produce a joint magazine.”

Editor’s Note: Click here for the Rio Grande Guardian’s first story on the business development forum hosted by the Donna-Rio Bravo International Alliance.