AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Secretary of State David Whitley has urged passage of legislation that would increase in capital for the North American Development Bank and expand the scope of projects eligible for financing.

NADBank was created jointly by the United States and Mexico in 1993 to preserve and enhance environmental conditions and the quality of life for communities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Whitley made clear his support for NADBank in two letters, one sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and the other sent to members of the Texas Congressional Delegation.

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley

In the letters, Whitley points out that his duties as secretary of state include that of Border Commerce Coordinator.

“I am responsible for working to increase funding for the Bank, among other duties related to facilitating a prosperous trade relationship between Texas and Mexico. I fully support this important legislation and urge the delegation’s support as Congress works to pass it,” Whitley wrote.

Whitley praised the authors of S. 267 and H.R. 132, including Senator John Cornyn, and U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez, and Will Hurd.

“Throughout its 25-year history, the North American Development Bank has played a critical role in financing infrastructure projects to improve the quality of life in our border communities and in strengthening our bilateral relationship with Mexico,” Whitley wrote.

Whitley pointed out that the proposed legislation would provide the first general capital increase in NADBank’s history by authorizing the U.S. Department of Treasury to subscribe to 150,000 additional shares of capital stock from the Bank, representing an infusion of $1.5 billion of paid-in and callable capital.

He noted that the legislation also allows NADBank to finance natural gas projects, including pipelines, combined cycle power plants, and the expansion of and new construction of international land border crossings. “As new technology allows Texas producers to tap into previously inaccessible natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale, new markets will be needed,” Whitley wrote.

Whitley concluded his letters by saying NADBank “remains an important institution in financing projects to enhance the quality of life along the border and demonstrating our commitment to a strong friendship with Mexico.”

In a news release announcing S. 267, Sen. Cornyn, R-Texas, said the legislation would authorize the Treasury Department to increase its capital and provide additional authority to fund projects related to limited natural gas and land port of entry infrastructure.

“For more than 20 years, the North American Development Bank’s investments in our border communities have improved air and water quality, updated infrastructure, and increased cross-border trade,”Cornyn said.“What happens along our southern border impacts not only Texas but the entire nation, so we cannot let this crucial partner in economic development lapse.”

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is co-author of S. 267.

“For far too long, untreated sewage, trash and sediment has routinely flowed north across the U.S.-Mexico border, jeopardizing the health of our communities. The North American Development Bank plays a key role in solving these problems by bringing the United States and Mexico together to finance critical infrastructure projects along the border,” Feinstein said.

“But there is still much more work to be done. Our legislation will significantly expand the bank’s ability to invest in new projects to improve the quality of life on both sides of the border.”

Among the groups supporting S. 267 and H.R. 132 are the United States Chamber of Commerce, Texas Border Coalition, Border Trade Alliance, Rio Grande Valley Partnership, Borderplex Alliance, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the following local chambers in Texas: the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber, the Houston Hispanic Chamber, the Irving Hispanic Chamber, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber and the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber.

Here is the letter Whitley sent to Trade Representative Lighthizer:

April 30, 2019

The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer

Ambassador

Office of the United States Trade Representative

600 17th Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C., 20508

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

I would like to begin by commending your work on ensuring a swift passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) through Congress. As a neighbor to Mexico and the tenth biggest economy in the world by gross domestic product (GDP), Texas has a significant stake in the health of free trade and particularly in the passage of USMCA.

The intent of this letter is to express my support for the North American Development Bank (NADB or “the Bank”). The NADB, a binational institution jointly established by the governments of the United States and Mexico, exists to preserve and enhance the environment and quality of life in the border region. The Bank is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas and stands as the only international development bank that finances projects in the U.S., as well as the Mexico border region. Throughout its 25-year history, the NADB has played a critical role in financing infrastructure projects to improve the quality of life in our border communities and in strengthening our bilateral relationship with Mexico.

In 1993, under the auspices of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a side accord promoting trilateral cooperation on environmental matters, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to create a new binational institution to promote border projects. Since its creation, in the U.S., the NADB has provided $1.29 billion in loans and grants to leverage total infrastructure investment that exceeds an impressive $4.6 billion in 113 projects. In my capacity as Texas’ border commerce coordinator, I am responsible for working to increase funding for the Bank1, among other duties related to facilitating a prosperous trade relationship between Texas and Mexico.

Earlier this year, S. 267 and H.R. 132, the North American Development Bank Improvement Act of 2019, were introduced and propose the first general capital increase in the NADB’s history by authorizing the U.S. Department of Treasury to subscribe to 150,000 additional shares of capital stock from the Bank, representing an infusion of $1.5 billion of paid-in and callable capital. In 1994, the NADB’s original capital was $3 billion with equal commitments from the United States and Mexico. In the intervening decades, the Bank has been tremendously cost-effective in the use of this capital. As of this past September, the Bank had financed 246 projects from $405 million of its initial paid-in capital, leveraging total investments of $8.20 billion in sustainable infrastructure. In Texas alone, the Bank has leveraged total infrastructure project costs that exceed $1.76 billion in 62 projects.

This legislation also allows the Bank to finance natural gas projects, including pipelines, combined cycle power plants, and the expansion of and new construction of international land border crossings. As new technology allows Texas producers to tap into previously inaccessible natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale, new markets will be needed. S. 267 and H.R. 132 will ensure the Texas-Mexico border region benefits from this natural gas production by opening up the area for consumption. Annually, Texas’s exports to Mexico are over $90 billion, and Texas’s imports from Mexico top $80 billion. Having personally visited eight border crossings within the last two months alone, I can attest that our trade relationship is only growing stronger. As trade with Mexico continues to grow, Bank-financed land border crossings will help ensure that the appropriate infrastructure is in place to support the increased flow of goods across our southern border.

I fully support this important legislation and urge Congress to authorize and appropriate funds for a general capital increase for the Bank and to expand the scope of projects eligible for financing as provided for in S. 267 and H.R. 132.

Again, thank you for your leadership to ensure that the NADB remains an important institution in financing projects to enhance the quality of life along the border and demonstrating our commitment to a strong friendship with Mexico. As congress works toward passage of this legislation, please consider our state an ally.

Sincerely,

David Whitley

Texas Secretary of State

Here is the letter Secretary of State Whitley sent to the Texas Congressional Delegation:

April 30, 2019

Members of the Texas Congressional Delegation:

I write to express my support for S. 267 and H.R. 132, identical bills that would allow for an increase in capital for the North American Development Bank and expand the scope of projects eligible for financing. I commend Senator Cornyn, Congressman Cuellar, Congressman Gonzalez, and Congressman Hurd for the introduction of this important legislation as well as the many Texans who have already signed on as cosponsors. Throughout its 25-year history, the North American Development Bank (the Bank) has played a critical role in financing infrastructure projects to improve the quality of life in our border communities and in strengthening our bilateral relationship with Mexico. In my capacity as Texas’ Border Commerce Coordinator, I am responsible for working to increase funding for the Bank1, among other duties related to facilitating a prosperous trade relationship between Texas and Mexico. I fully support this important legislation and urge the delegation’s support as Congress works to pass it.

S. 267 and H.R. 132 propose the first general capital increase in the North American Development Bank’s history by authorizing the U.S. Department of Treasury to subscribe to 150,000 additional shares of capital stock from the Bank, representing an infusion of $1.5 billion of paid-in and callable capital. In 1994, the North American Development Bank’s original capital was $3 billion with equal commitments from the United States and Mexico. In the intervening decades, the Bank has been tremendously cost-effective in the use of this capital. As of this past September, the Bank had financed 246 projects from $405 million of its initial paid-in capital, leveraging total investments of $8.20 billion in sustainable infrastructure. In Texas alone, the Bank has leveraged total infrastructure project costs that exceed $1.76 billion in 62 projects.

This legislation also allows the Bank to finance natural gas projects, including pipelines, combined cycle power plants, and the expansion of and new construction of international land border crossings. As new technology allows Texas producers to tap into previously inaccessible natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale, new markets will be needed. S. 267 and H.R. 132 will ensure the Texas-Mexico border region benefits from this natural gas production by opening up the area for consumption. Annually, Texas’s exports to Mexico are over $90 billion, and Texas’s imports from Mexico top $80 billion. Having personally visited eight border crossings within the last two months alone, I can attest that our trade relationship is only growing stronger. As trade with Mexico continues to grow, Bank-financed land border crossings will help ensure that the appropriate infrastructure is in place to support the increased flow of goods across our southern border.

Again, thank you for your leadership to ensure that the North American Development Bank remains an important institution in financing projects to enhance the quality of life along the border and demonstrating our commitment to a strong friendship with Mexico. As you work toward passage of this legislation, please consider our state an ally.

Sincerely,

David Whitley

Texas Secretary of State

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Chihuahua Governor Javier Corral Jurado meeting with officials from the North American Development Bank in Ciudad Juárez. Corral is looking for financial help with border infrastructure projects. (Photo: El Tintero)