FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2021
AUSTIN, TEXAS — Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa's Senate Bill 1334 has now been sent to Governor Greg Abbott for final approval before becoming law. This bill will give city and county owned toll bridges another funding tool to invest in our port of entry infrastructure. The Texas-Mexico border is a key contributor to the local, regional, state, and national economies of the U.S. and Mexico. Trade between Texas and Mexico has grown rapidly, increasing by 267 percent from $58 billion in 1994 to $213 billion in 2019.
This bill was filed after City of Pharr Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez met with Senator Hinojosa requesting assistance to address concerns from the Texas Attorney General's Office regarding their ability to permit the issuance of bonds for assets that would be donated to the federal government. Currently, cities and counties are not permitted to issue bonds to invest in facilities, technology, or other infrastructure to donate to the federal government for port improvements.
"I appreciate Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez for his leadership and for bringing this issue to my attention," said Senator Hinojosa. "We will recover our investments and more, by growing our economy, creating new jobs, and making the movement of people and goods at our bridges more efficient. This is a common sense bill that will help cities and counties that own bridges leverage their local dollars to expedite bridge projects which will strengthen our economy and the safety of our ports of entry."
Mayor Hernandez also commented on the passage of SB 1334. "The city of Pharr prides itself on remaining proactive and innovative when it comes to infrastructure development at the Pharr International Bridge," said Mayor Hernandez. "The bridge now crosses 65% of the nation’s produce imported from Mexico and over $36 billion in annual trade, and I am happy to see that our state leaders recognize that it is vital to continue prioritizing infrastructure needs for our port of entry." He also added, "Senate Bill 1334 will allow for local government entities to invest in port of entry infrastructure that can provide greater efficiency of cross-border movement of people and goods and to better accommodate future growth. Specifically, I want to thank Senator Hinojosa and Chairman Canales, who represent our South Texas region on their respective Committees on Transportation, for sponsoring this bill and getting this done for our border communities.”
This bill was sponsored in the House of Representatives by Terry Canales, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee. If approved by the Governor, Senate Bill 1334 will take effect immediately.