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County and City Leaders Approve Valley MPO Merger

Special to La Feria News

In a show of unity and multi-level government cooperation and support, the Cameron County Commissioners’ Court, the Harlingen City Commission and the Brownsville City Commission all considered and passed identical Resolutions and a Term-Sheet outlining general conditions for a “Re-Designation Agreement for all three Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO’s) in the Rio Grande Valley including Cameron and Hidalgo Counties to consolidate and form one Regional MPO.

The Resolution calls for a merger to position the Rio Grande Valley to gain a competitive advantage in acquiring state transportation funds. An MPO merger in the Rio Grande Valley will place the region in the top five MPO’s in the state and thus give the Rio Grande Valley MPO a seat at the table when the Texas Transportation Commission is considering allocations of discretionary funding. The Resolution further reads that the MPO merger will strengthen regional transportation systems and support greater economic development opportunities in the region.

“This is a historic day for the future of our county and region, stated Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino, Jr. When this merger is approved and completed, the Rio Grande Valley is going to see a transformative change in the next ten to twenty years and beyond. We will no longer have to settle for bits and pieces of the transportation funding that our state leaders disburse out on an annual basis. I applaud all of our elected leadership for their vision and foresight. In particular, I want to thank Mayor Chris Boswell for his leadership on this issue.”

Mayor Chris Boswell says, “This partnership is a formula for success that has proven successful in other parts of the state. The City of Harlingen and our city commission understand the importance of having a seat at the table. We will soon be able to discuss projects and vie for discretionary funds while protecting current funding categories for our regions of the valley. I look forward to continue to work with every Mayor and County Judge to ensure this partnership is successful and allows our residents to reap the rewards.”

The City of Brownsville also considered and approved this monumental agreement. “As we move forward in the realignment of this regional Metropolitan Planning Organization, I encourage our local leaders to be mindful of the details in this agreement that will impact our residents and opportunities for the future,” said Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez.

“We look forward to working alongside our neighboring cities to achieve municipal and regional goals.” City Commissioner Joel Munguia working with his colleagues on the Commission stated, “I am excited that our city commission has faith in this process and is willing to support the merger. Having worked on infrastructure issues for many years, the decision to move forward on this Rio Grande Valley MPO merger will have a far reaching impact for generations to come. There are projects in Brownsville that will now move up on the priority list because we can access more funding working with regional and state leaders.”

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