RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – Earlier this year three valley metropolitan planning organizations merged, making the new valley MPO the 5th largest in the state.
Area lawmakers are focusing their legislative efforts on working together as a region and as a delegation in addressing many issues, including traffic.
Chairman of the Texas House Commission of Transportation, Terry Canales, said the population of the state of Texas is fixing to double by 2050.
He added that the state’s $10 billion annual transportation budget can’t keep up with the growth and that growth, in turn, is leading to a growth in traffic, including right here in the valley.
“Anybody who has lived here for the last ten years has seen traffic increase exponentially. We’re seeing just in the Pharr interchange, just on our expressways inside of McAllen inside the city of Edinburg 10th street, you look at these areas and they are now traffic-laden and it’s getting worse by the day,”
In August, Canales announced that the Pharr TxDot district would receive more than $2.1 billion for transportation infrastructure over the next decade, securing major roadway projects that not only address traffic but make sure the economy keeps the commercial goods flowing through the region.
“For too long the Rio Grande Valley has been neglected, underserved, underappreciated, and underfunded and so the reality is we’ve turned over a new leaf,”
Canales says that the new leaf comes from elected officials working tirelessly and fighting like they never have before to make sure the Rio Grande Valley gets its fair share of the pie working together as a delegation and as a region.
“Safety and being able to value our most precious commodity, which is time, neither you nor I know how much time we have and so wasting it in traffic is not what we want to do,”
Canales also adds building roadways may not be the only answer and the Rio Grande Valley region is reaching the tipping point where mass transit must be an option.