HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Several mayors from the RGV met with top officials in San Antonio to discuss the ongoing challenges different cities in our region face.

This was all for the South Texas Alliance of Cities gathering, and Valley mayors shared their reaction with goals to impact and empower our community.

“What we talked about was telling our story,” City of Edinburg Mayor Ramiro Garza said. “We’re the ones that live here that know our community that understand what is happening.”

Officials from the Rio Grande Valley got the chance to share information about their cities, what is happening in them, and how to improve their communities at the forum.

Several topics were brought to the table which include workforce development, economic growth and even transportation needs.

“San Antonio, and Corpus, and Laredo the alliance they’ve agreed to join our efforts here in the Valley as it relates to advocating for transportation funding to complete the interstate system in our region,” Mayor Garza said.

Garza says transportation was a key topic and other cities see the same challenge.

“We need to make sure that we are not behind, and that we are always ahead of the game,” City of McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos said.

Villalobos said having mobility and good infrastructure is crucial, especially since the area is growing.

“One of the things we have learned is that we are way behind as far as infrastructure,” he said. “When you compare us like for example San Antonio of course our population is a lot less but we realize it is something that we need to catch up to and catch up to quick.”

In other areas of the RGV, building a strong workforce and economic growth is a huge priority.

“We are only going to grow Harlingen if we’re able to provide good paying jobs for folks who are going to want to stay in our community and to work here, live here, play here, grow family, and retire here, and so we do that by providing those jobs,” City of Harlingen Mayor Norma Sepulveda said.

Sepulveda said another need is affordable housing and not ignoring the homeless population.

“We do have a population that are homeless in our community, and I think at this point it is manageable, so we need to have a plan in place,” Sepulveda said.

Leaders say working together in the alliance will impact the community.

“What happens in South Texas matters to not only our State, but our entire country. This is an area that unfortunately that has long been underserved, overlooked, for too many years but I think by us coming together we’ll make sure that we have a strong voice together,” Garza said.

Our ValleyCentral team also reached out to Brownsville Mayor John Cowen who was also at the gathering.

He said in a statement;
“The South Texas Alliance provides a forum for member cities to share information and ideas to tackle challenges and take advantage of opportunities. During our visit to San Antonio this week, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and his team spent a full day with the STA Mayors and shared their strategies on workforce development, affordable housing, economic development, and homelessness.”

Valley city leaders anticipate hosting the next South Texas Alliance meeting early next year.