MISSION, Texas – There is great interest in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, for a new international bridge Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña is working on.
Nuevo Leon state senator Luis David Ortiz Salinas was in Mission recently to discuss the Madero port of entry project with O’Caña.
“Senator Ortiz is here because we are working on the Mission-Reynosa Bridge. His interest is the pathway to get to Monterrey. How are we going to move from the bridge through Tamaulipas, through Nuevo Leon to Monterrey?” O’Caña told the Rio Grande Guardian.
When O’Caña talks about the Mission-Reynosa Bridge he is referring to the Madero project. It is the top economic development project of his administration.
The new bridge would be used for commercial and/or passenger rail, passenger vehicles and pedestrians. Trucks would not be permitted. Instead, they would use the existing Anzalduas International Bridge, just downstream.
O’Caña gave his exclusive interview to the Rio Grande Guardian at the conclusion of a news conference hosted by Congressman Henry Cuellar and held at the Center for Education and Economic Development in Mission. Senator Ortiz and his advisers and staff were present.
In the interview, O’Caña said he wants to build on the momentum he achieved when, late last year, he was able to get an extension to the presidential permit.
“The barrier we had was the possible expiration date of the presidential permit but that has been removed. Now, it is classified as for live to construction,” O’Caña said, proudly.
“We want to start construction by 2025 and finish by 2027 because our feasibility study says that in 2036 all the bridges between Brownsville and Laredo are going to be saturated.”
The Texas Department of Transportation’s studies say the same thing.
O’Caña says the construction cost of the bridge is estimated at $133 million. “That is what the experts are telling me. Obviously we do not know until construction starts.”
To further civic and business ties between Mission and Monterrey, O’Caña recently signed a city sister agreement with his counterpart Adrián Emilio de la Garza Santos.
“When I started as the mayor one of the visions that I had was… Mission and Monterrey are very close, less than 100 miles apart. There are a lot of companies in Monterrey that are urging and wanting to coming to the United States,” O’Caña said.
“My understanding is Mexico is now ready to start moving money, as investors, into the United States and we are hoping that Mission becomes the hub, the gateway to the world.”
For example, O’Caña said, once the bridge is complete, freight will be able to go via rail from Monterrey to Mission and on to the Port of Brownsville, the Port of Corpus Christi, the Port of Houston, to Chicago and on to Canada.
“Our sister city agreement is still in the infancy stage but it has great potential. We are growing and making it better. We have other sister city agreements but none as big as this. Keep in mind, Monterrey is the second or third largest city in Mexico.”
He pointed out that de la Garza, the mayor of Monterrey, came to Mission to sign the sister city agreement, before O’Caña traveled to Monterrey to do the same. “I signed it at his cabinet office in downtown Monterrey, in November. A very important agreement and an historic moment for Mission.”
O’Caña said the City of Mission is about to enter into an agreement with a contractor for five pre-construction studies. He said all of them must be completed before the bridge can be built.
“One of them is the feasibility study on the Mexico side. Remember, the Anzalduas Bridge Board has done the one on the U.S. side. Plus, we must complete a traffic study for rail, pedestrian, and passenger vehicles on the U.S. side and the Mexican side. We are also kicking off the environmental study to begin pre-construction of the bridge, environmental studies in the United States and Mexico.”
Asked about passenger rail going from Monterrey to Houston via Mission, O’Caña said: “There are two types of passenger rail. The regular train and the speed train, similar to the one being done between Dallas and Houston. We are working on bringing the speed train from Houston to Mission and on to Monterrey. And from there, Mexico can take it to wherever they want to.”
A state of the art component of the Madero project, O’Caña said, will be to have a binational inspection center in Mission. “We will have the Mexican inspectors in there. The goods will be inspected in advance. There will be no stopping at the bridge.”
Asked why he has made the Madero project his top economic development issue, O’Caña referred to international trade projections.
“Keep dreaming. Once the bridge is there, the industry from Monterrey, they are going to need hubs and we are going to be the hub city. Senator Ortiz is positive about the project, the mayor of Monterrey is also. Hopefully, the new governor of Nuevo Leon will be on board.”