FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2022
AUSTIN, TX — Today, State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa was awarded the Mayor Leo “Polo” Palacios Service Award at the City of Pharr's 2022 State of the City held at the newly built Natatorium in Pharr.
The Mayor Leo “Polo” Palacios Service Award is awarded annually at each State of the City Addresses to an individual, who like Mayor Palacios did for many years, carries the torch of service, leadership, and pride for the Pharr community. This year, Senator Hinojosa and State Representative Terry Canales were recognized as the co-recipients of the award for their work during the 2021 legislative session. Mayor Hernandez recognized them as two champions of the Texas Legislature who were instrumental in stewarding transportation issues that were of significant importance to the Pharr International Bridge.
Senator Hinojosa released the following statement:
"I am honored and humbled to be the recipient of the Mayor Leo “Polo” Palacios Award for Service, Leadership, and Pride. Mayor Polo Palacios was a longtime public servant, and as Mayor of the City of Pharr, paved the way for many of today's accomplishments.
I appreciate Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez and the City Commission for recognizing the work and the legislation Chairman Terry Canales and I passed during the 2021 legislative session that will benefit the residents of the City of Pharr. Being successful during the legislative session requires teamwork, communication, and quite frankly, the right issues that need to be addressed. Mayor Hernandez and his team brought two important issues to our attention that would benefit the Pharr International Bridge and we passed legislation to get it done.
The City of Pharr has become one of the most innovative cities in South Texas due to the leadership of Mayor Hernandez and the City Commission, the work of their staff, and the support of many Pharr community leaders. They are leading in providing broadband internet at an affordable rate; leading in imports and exports of produce; investing in health care infrastructure and services; investing in parks and projects like the natatorium; and, due to their advocacy and support, the Pharr Interchange is being reconstructed to reduce congestion. All these projects improve and enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Pharr. I'm honored to share this award with Chairman Canales and look forward to continue passing legislation that benefits our South Texas communities."
Legislation from the 2021 Regular Legislative Session
Senate Bill 1334 gives city and county owned toll bridges another funding tool to invest in their port of entry infrastructure. Before the passage of this bill, cities and counties were not permitted to issue bonds to invest in facilities, technology, or other infrastructure to donate to the federal government for port improvements. Now, this can be done.
Senate Bill 2243 updates the state permitting process for existing international bridges. This update in law not only allowed the City of Pharr to expedite the expansion of its bridge, it also saved the City over half a million dollars by aligning the state process with the federal process.