To the city of Pharr, I just want to let them know you’re looking at officials who are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing — moving the city forward, for your own benefit, but also for the world.
PHARR — Ground was broken Tuesday in an effort to strengthen the bond and expand commerce between the international communities of Pharr and Reynosa.
Local, state and federal representatives from both sides of the Rio Grande gathered at the Pharr International Bridge for a binational forum and a show of prosperity.
“We’re here to acknowledge and do the groundbreaking for our second bridge span,” Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said. “This endeavor is funded by the city of Pharr, and also through all our partners that we have throughout the state and federal government.”
Hernandez credited representatives at every level for their respective roles in helping to expand the Pharr International Bridge, which is ranked seventh in the nation for border crossings by value of imports and exports.
According to a news release, trade through the bridge was valued at $46.44 billion last year, including $18.74 billion in exports and $27.7 billion in imports. With the expansion, officials plan to expedite truck crossings and increase those numbers.
“This is an economic impact for both nations, both regions, job creation, quality of life, moving commerce through, feeding the world, showing the rest of the world that two nations can live side by side and work harmoniously for the benefit of the region,” Hernandez said. “To the city of Pharr, I just want to let them know you’re looking at officials who are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing — moving the city forward, for your own benefit, but also for the world.”
Among the Mexican delegation in attendance at Tuesday’s ceremony was Roberto Velasco Álvarez, chief officer for the North America Unit at the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs.
He acknowledged the significant role the bridge plays in commerce for both countries, with 65% of produce exported from Mexico to the United States passing through the port of entry.
“The expansion will allow for the growth of this trade, and obviously, also to prepare for all the nearshoring and new investments that we’re seeing along the border,” Álvarez said. “So we’re very happy to start the construction of the project today.”
Mexico has already invested $90 million to modernize the Mexican Port of Entry in 2018. Álvarez said that he anticipates a 6% increase in trade between the two countries from the roughly $780 billion traded last year. He added that the expansion will create hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border.
“We believe that not only we can grow trade, but we can grow the investments in the two countries in the whole North American neighborhood,” Álvarez said. “And getting the right infrastructure to support this process like this bridge is critical to be able to achieve our goals.”
Reynosa Mayor Carlos Víctor Peña Ortiz, who was also in attendance, echoed Álvarez’s anticipation for the project and expectations for job growth.
“It’s really important because with this investment here, with the expansion of the bridge, we’re going to need more drivers. And that’s going to increase wages on the Mexican side and bring well being to both sides of the border,” Ortiz said. “So for us, we congratulate Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez for his leadership in bringing this investment to a reality.”
To see more, view Monitor photojournalist Joel Martinez’s full photo gallery here: