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Texas Lawmakers Want Planned Border Crossings to Have Less Red Tape!


In Congress, politicians from Texas are pushing for several bills that would speed up the process of getting permission to build or expand international bridges with Mexico. Thursday, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said that both the House and the Senate agree with an addition he made to the National Defense Authorization Act that requires the White House and the State Department to respond to requests for foreign bridge permits within sixty days.

It was changed so that environmental reviews would not have to be finished before new bridge building or renovations could start in the counties of Maverick, Webb, and Cameron in South Texas. The people in charge want to build these new pathways between countries:

  • The Flor de Mayo International Bridge in Brownsville.
  • The 4/5 Bridge in Rio Bravo, southeast of Laredo.
  • The Puerto Verde Global Trade Bridge in Eagle Pass.

They also want to add 16 lanes to two bridges in Laredo: the Colombia Solidarity International Bridge will be used for non-commercial traffic, and the World Trade Bridge will be used by truckers. Ten of the lanes will go north from Mexico. The Cruz proposal would give the State Department 60 days to tell the president if they think the president should give the four projects a permit.

The president would then have sixty days to decide whether to let the people go or not. In previous administrations, presidential permission could be given if environmental reviews were completed successfully. This is similar to what happened here. Cruz thinks he has enough votes to get it passed as soon as next week.

Texas Lawmakers Want Planned Border Crossings to Have Less Red Tape!

“South Texas has won a big battle.” I’ve worked with both Democratic and Republican colleagues for months to make sure that this important Texas measure was included in a bill that could pass Congress and be signed into law. Cruz said in a statement, “Building these four new and expanded cross-border bridges is very important for the economy of our state.”

“These bridges over the Rio Grande will help Texas farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and small businesses.” “They will back international trade, clear up problems in the supply chain, and help border communities in Texas grow economically and feel safe,” he said.

In July, Cruz went to the World Trade Bridge in Laredo with a group of people from both parties, which included U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas. At that time, the group talked about how the Biden government should speed up the process of getting bridge permits.

This week, Cuellar told Border Report that he has also added similar language to a House Appropriations bill that is still being worked on for 2024. This would speed up the permitting process for building new and current bridges along the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders.

Texas Lawmakers Want Planned Border Crossings to Have Less Red Tape!

His plan would also let the building go ahead while environmental reviews are being done. But he said that work would stop if environmental problems were found. House lawmakers have pushed back votes on 2024 budget bills, so it’s possible that the measure won’t be voted on until next month.

Border Report talked to Cuellar about how important it is to open up more trade lines with Mexico. He said that trade between the U.S. and Mexico was worth $863 billion in goods and services last year and will be worth more than $1 trillion in five years. But he said that there should be more lines between the two countries.

He said, “We’re going to get this done one way or another.” Cuellar was angry that the Biden administration had recently ignored 26 environmental laws to speed up the building of the border wall in his district’s Starr County. Now, he wants them to think about speeding up the building of bridges as well.

“I told the government that you all broke 26 environmental laws to build that stupid wall along the border.” “But you can’t even work with us to speed up the NEPA law for bridges, let alone get rid of it,” he asked. “All that needs to be done is to try to speed it up so that we can do it all at once.”

Texas Lawmakers Want Planned Border Crossings to Have Less Red Tape!

Cuellar says that the World Trade Bridge has already been through environmental reviews when it was being built and during its most recent growth. The $40 million addition has been in the works since 2021. The City of Laredo bridge statistics show that the bridge has seen about 250,000 commercial vehicles per month so far this fiscal year, which is up 7% from Fiscal Year 2023.

It is the largest commercial port of entry on the Southwest border. Truckers, on the other hand, say they often have to wait hours to move their loads between the two countries. “The Valley needs bridges a lot. “Bridges are so important to the U.S.-Mexico border and the Canadian border,” Cuellar said. A lot of people depend on bridges.

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