McAllen- After years of working to get southbound commercial truck traffic at the Anzalduas International Bridge, the City of McAllen rolled out the first truck today. The truck crossing is historic because the City of McAllen actually helped to pay for the infrastructure on the Mexican side of the bridge. It is the first time a municipality in the United States has made a contribution of this kind to the Mexican federal government.
“It has been more than two years of planning for this moment and now it is finally going to be a reality. It took a lot of cooperation from several different governmental entities on both sides of the border. I especially want to thank Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Henry Cuellar and their staffs,” Mayor Jim Darling said. “From a commerce standpoint, this is going to be a critical improvement for maquiladoras because they’ll be able to shorten the time it takes to return empty transporters saving not only time but money and helping the environment. The first international public - private partnership is now implemented.”
Rio Grande Valley commercial truck traffic is expected to grow exponentially as Mexico coordinates its produce traffic to South Texas and the energy sector in that country opens to foreign investment.
“In our partnership with McAllen, we understand the Anzalduas International Bridge is vital to our neighbors in Mexico because it’s the front door to our country. We need to make trade more accessible and efficient for our region to prosper. We had been working on this since we decided to build the bridge together,” said Mission Mayor Norbeto “Beto” Salinas.
The city’s elected leaders credit federal, state and local officials for working together on this unique venture.
“This project is about teamwork. The cities of Hidalgo, McAllen and Mission decided to work together from the inception to now to make this a reality. We understand we are creating new avenues for trade through truck traffic in Mexico and the United States,” Hidalgo Mayor Martin Cepeda said.
The City of McAllen contributed approximately $1.1 million for the improvements on the Mexican side of Anzalduas Bridge.
“This is the culmination of so much work and it’s thrilling because it has been such a long wait. We are finally going to have southbound empties on Anzalduas. This is history in the making. This is the first binational agreement of its kind in the United States, where a municipality partnered with the Mexican federal government and we could not be more proud,” City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, P.E. said. “I want to thank Mayor Darling for his leadership on this journey as well as recognize the City Commission's perseverance and trust.”
The funds were used to build an exclusive lane for southbound empties and to heighten some of the canopies so trucks can pass through. Under the inter-institutional agreement of cooperation with the Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes of the Estados Unidos Mexicanos, McAllen will recoup their costs and Mexico will receive 20 percent of the toll revenues collected, once it has paid back its debt.
“Seeing the first ever 18-wheeler cross southbound across Anzalduas International Bridge is going to be extraordinary,” Superintendent of Bridges Rigo Villarreal said. “The best part is that we pulled those monies out of the infrastructure fund from our bridge revenues to get this done. Taxpayers did not foot the bill for this initiative. We are heading into a new direction of increasing revenues for bridge and our city bridge partners.”