Rio Grande Guardian publisher Mark Hanna and City of Donna consultant Ernesto Silva.

DONNA, RGV – Talk to any Donna city council member and they will tell you their interim city manager and bridge consultant, Ernesto Silva, is innovative and forward-thinking.

Now, the rest of the Rio Grande Valley is aware also. On a Rio Grande Guardian LIVESTREAM event on Facebook, Silva suggested South Padre Island and Brownsville leaders reach out to Elon Musk to ask the founder of SpaceX and Tesla to build a monorail connector to SPI.

Ernesto Silva

Asked by Rio Grande Guardian publisher Mark Hanna if he had any ideas to improve transportation for SPI, Silva said:

“There are several alternatives that need to be looked at. Mass transit is not big here in the Rio Grande Valley. In most areas like that (SPI), you could put trolley systems in, you could put a monorail that could go over the bay and have people park on the mainland and take the monorail over there and reduce the number of cars that are on the island, period.

“The island only has so much capacity on the roadway. We do need another bridge for evacuation and for certain times on the north side. But, if you continue to increase the number of cars, you still only have four lanes on the main Padre Boulevard. How many more cars are you actually going to be able to put on Padre Boulevard?”

The solution? Talk to Elon Musk, Silva recommended. After all, SpaceX is building a rocket launching facility on Boca Chica beach.

“I would recommend they go to SpaceX and say, hey, we want you to help us resolve some of these issues. How can we do a monorail across, back and forth, so people can come over and watch your launch. Help us make this like a Florida and some of the other areas where you are at,” Silva said.

“I think we need to push a little bit more on SpaceX and have them come to the table and provide some solutions because the private sector can do it much quicker than the public sector. Nothing would be better than to cross people back and forth between Boca Chica and Port Isabel and still have the second causeway for an outlet, whenever that is necessary, but allow for people to go back and forth without having to bring their cars over.”

Asked if he had seen the SpaceX facility in Florida, Silva said no. However, he said he knew about monorail systems in other parts of the world.

“Anywhere you go around Disney, they have monorails. The Island can be our destination for people to come and jump on a monorail, go across, get on a bicycle, or jump into a van, get picked up by the hotels. They do it everywhere else in the world. Why can’t we do it at South Padre Island?” Silva asked

“But, we need the private sector to step up to the plate. If he is listening, maybe he will make a note of it and Mr. Musk can put his engineers to work, his planners, and come up with some ideas of how they can come to our area and let them provide more than just a launch pad.”

Editor’s Note: Much of the one hour LIVESTREAM conversation with Silva focused on Donna and the Mid Valley. Click here to watch the broadcast.