Texas Border Business
By Roberto Hugo González
Revolutionary RGV Economic Summit, convened at the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg. This gathering signified a crucial turning point in the area’s economic expansion and cooperation, boasting the presence of over 25 RGV Mayors, spanning from SPI to RGC.
When Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa spoke, the message was clear and resonant: Texas is standing up for its borders where the federal government has lagged behind. As he introduced Texas State Governor Greg Abbott, he welcomed Abbott’s efforts in border security, reinforcing the belief in the power of local governance.
Governor Abbott’s subsequent response celebrated not only Senator Hinojosa’s leadership but the joint power of the representatives and officials of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). It was evident that the Texas’s recognized the strength of unity, and the strength of a region like the RGV when it stands together. He highlighted names like Senator LaMantia, Representatives Jamie Lopez, Terry Canales, Ryan Guillen, and Bobby Guerra, stood as the evidence to the formidable power of the RGV in the capital the governor said.
There was also acknowledgment of the numerous mayors, county judges, business, and community leaders who play fundamental roles in the development of the region. Governor Abbott particularly expressed gratitude to Adriana Cruz, the head of economic development in his office, for her pivotal role in driving Texas’s economic growth.
But the real spotlight was on the Rio Grande Valley itself. Governor Abbott expressed his dedication to the RGV, emphasizing its importance as perhaps the fastest-growing region in Texas. “The Texas of Tomorrow is going to be built here in the Rio Grande Valley,” Abbott said.
The underlying message of the day was “unity.” Abbott emphasized that the RGV’s strength lies in its collaborative efforts rather than individual successes. Drawing parallels with successful economic development in the Dallas region, he argued that when areas work in unity, they can attract and sustain more economic development projects.
It’s not just about competition or individual glory, Abbott emphasized, it’s about creating a collective message that RGV is the prime location for businesses and industries. When one city lands an economic project, it signals the potential of the entire region, attracting more businesses and thus more opportunities for all.
Yet, it’s not only about economic growth but also about quality of life. Governor Abbott touched upon the need for accessible and high-quality healthcare in the RGV. His anecdote about the establishment of a level one trauma center in the Rio Grande Valley showcased the state’s commitment to the welfare of its residents.
Furthermore, to keep up with the modern world and bridge the digital divide, broadband access was recognized as a fundamental requirement. The initiative to expand broadband access across the Rio Grande Valley showcases the importance of modern infrastructure for regional development.
The governor said that education and skill training are equally crucial. Investments in the local workforce and the reform in funding of two-year colleges focus on immediate skill training for high-demand jobs, ensuring that the RGV remains competitive in the ever-evolving job market.
“While individual successes are noteworthy, it is the power of unity and collaboration that truly propels a region forward. The Rio Grande Valley, with its collective spirit and the support of the state leadership, is poised to play a leading role in shaping the future of Texas.” The governor said, “A win for one is a win for all, and the Rio Grande Valley’s future is a brighter one when built on unity and collaboration.”
The Future Brightens for the Rio Grande Valley: Economic Expansion Centered Around the Port of Brownsville
The Rio Grande Valley (RGV), a jewel nestled in the south of Texas, is about to experience a massive transformation, and it’s all starting with the Port of Brownsville.
Gov. Abbott said that Sergio Contreras mentioned the importance of this port, a hub that already contributes over 50,000 jobs and a staggering $3 billion to the economic activity of the region. “The weight of his words isn’t lost on those with an eye on the future of RGV. As the Port of Brownsville expands in collaboration with billion-dollar businesses, its potential to become the focal point for future economic growth in the region is undeniable.”
He continued to say that taking a step back, one need only glance at Houston to understand the impact of such a port. “The city credits much of its meteoric economic rise to the establishment and flourishing of the Port of Houston.” He pointed out that now, the Port of Brownsville stands poised to play a similar transformative role, not just for Brownsville or Cameron County, but stretching out to Hidalgo County, Starr County, and beyond. “The benefits of its expansion will be felt deeply and widely throughout RGV.”
The region’s growth is underscored by significant infrastructure investments. As anyone traveling through the RGV can attest, road construction is everywhere, that’s the evidence of the billions being spent to keep the valley moving. “Alex Meade’s recent appointment to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) further cements the commitment to this region. Just yesterday, TXDoT adopted a new plan to pour over $3.6 billion into RGV projects over the next decade. From the State Highway 32, east Loop in Cameron County to the $150 million International Bridge Trade Corridor and many more, the region is gearing up for growth.”
He pauses and says, “Yet, as the RGV grows, it faces the challenge of surging property valuations. While this signifies demand and a booming real estate market, it also means increasing property taxes. Addressing this concern, the state prioritized cutting property taxes, moving from a proposed $15 billion tax cut to an unprecedented $18 billion cut. The result? Slashed school property taxes, with the state making up for the deficit, ensuring that schools still receive record-high funding.” At the end of this message, he was applauded by attendees to the RGV Economic Summit.
Moreover, he said, “Texas’s economic ability continues to shine. Leading the nation in new job creation, exports, and being home to more Fortune 500 company headquarters than any other state, the Texan economy is a force to be reckoned with.” H said, “Notably, the state now boasts the eighth-largest economy worldwide, with RGV playing a pivotal role in this success. Small businesses, often overshadowed by corporate giants, are the backbone of the state, employing half of its workforce and setting Texas as a leader in job creation among Hispanic women, Black entrepreneurs, and veteran women.” Finalizing, the Gov. Abbot said, “The Rio Grande Valley is not just a part of Texas; it’s the future of Texas. As the region’s mayors and county judges unite to sign an alliance, one message is clear: The Texas of tomorrow is sprouting in the RGV. It’s not just about economic expansion but about unity, about marrying markets and working as one RGV – one region with one voice. The ceremonial signing by the RGV leaders on stage is more than a formality; it’s a commitment to a brighter, united future. God bless the Rio Grande Valley and the great state of Texas.”