SAN ANTONIO – Texas Gov. Greg Abbot on Saturday signed HB 1 into law, an over $209 billion budget bill to fund state government operations.
Tucked into the massive two-year budget is a provision that creates a new border infrastructure funding category within the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
“With dedicated federal resources for border infrastructure running dry, we are thankful that Texas is stepping up to address important issues like border infrastructure that the federal government is either unable or unwilling to take on,” Border Trade Alliance Chairman Jesse Hereford said.
The BTA, a nearly 30-year-old organization that advocates for policies that encourage increased cross-border trade, thanked Gov. Abbott for allowing the transportation provision to remain in the budget. The BTA also worked closely with state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, who shepherded the legislation through the budget process, as well as Senators José Rodriguez and Carlos Uresti.
The BTA, whose private and public sector members in Texas stretch from El Paso to Brownsville, cited the budget’s transportation language as an example of border-wide cooperation.
“This legislation would not have been possible without a strong commitment to regional cooperation,” Cameron County Judge and BTA Board Member Pete Sepulveda said. “The Texas-Mexico border is more competitive when our communities work together. Cameron County and the cities of McAllen, Pharr, Laredo, Del Rio, and the private Starr-Camargo International Bridge in Rio Grande City and El Paso’s Borderplex Alliance all worked to get this legislation across the finish line.”
Rigoberto Villarreal, the superintendent for the McAllen-Hidalgo and Anzalduas International Bridges and BTA Board Member, said Sen. Hinojosa’s support was integral to the legislation reaching passage.
“The international bridges of our region are now poised to have new tools in our toolbox for ensuring our infrastructure keeps pace with the growing demands of today’s trade volumes,” Villarreal said. “Sen. Hinojosa deserves our thanks for his hard work to advance this bill to the governor’s desk. Here in McAllen, we appreciate Mayor Jim Darling, who played a key role in raising the profile of this important issue.”