FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2009
(AUSTIN) — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, today (Friday) applauded the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) for adding stimulus funding for the Cuatro Vientos Road after initially omitting it.
"The State of Texas will supplement the $31.5 million for the project with $28 million from our Proposition 14 bonds," Senator Zaffirini said, “and the City of Laredo will add $5.2 million from local funds. Our success reflects anew the effective collaboration among city, county, state and federal officials.
President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress provided the funds to the State of Texas, and state elected officials will work with state agencies to determine how to appropriate them.
"I am delighted that the Laredo area will benefit from the federal stimulus act," Senator Zaffirini said. "Many of us have fought hard to secure funding like this to alleviate the congestion and road deterioration caused by the magnitude of commercial transportation that traverses Laredo roadways.
"Despite its vital importance to our state and country, the City of Laredo was previously overlooked and not considered for federal stimulus funds. I am pleased that the commission responded to our urging that the Cuatro Vientos Project receive federal stimulus dollars."
Senator Zaffirini said city officials including Mayor Raul Salinas; Council Members Gene Belmares, Tito Garcia, Mike Garza, and Juan Narvaez; and City Manager Carlos Villarreal contacted her about Laredo’s omission from TXDOT’s original recommendations from Amadeo Saenz, executive director.
"It was my pleasure to work not only with them and with Representatives Richard Raymond and Ryan Guillen, but also immediately to contact and garner support from Saenz; Deirdre Delisi, TXDOT chair; and Senator John Carona, R-Dallas, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee," Senator Zaffirini said.
"Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and my colleagues support Laredo’s priorities, including our transportation needs. He and Senator Carona earlier met with the Laredo delegation and honored their commitment to be of assistance."
Because of conflicts in the Texas Senate, Senator Zaffirini could not attend the TXDOT hearings, but submitted a letter to the commissioners and was represented by Sean Griffin of her Capitol staff. (LETTER IS ATTACHED.)
"The Senate Finance Committee meets in Austin today to continue drafting the state’s budget for the next biennium," she added. "Count on me to champion accepting additional federal stimulus funds for critical areas, including education and health and human services. As chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee and member of the Senate committees on health and human services and on economic development, I am particularly interested in ensuring that we appropriate these funds wisely to address critical needs that otherwise could not be addressed."