MISSION, Texas (Border Report) — The groundbreaking Monday of a new industrial and manufacturing park signals that Rio Grande Valley businesses are gearing up for the Anzalduas International Bridge to have two-way truck traffic to Mexico.
It also comes three weeks after several businesses in the cold-storage and trucking industry threatened to relocate after a three-day closure of the Pharr International Bridge that was triggered by new truck inspections ordered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Truck traffic has resumed at the Pharr International Bridge, the nation’s leading land port for the import of fruits and vegetables from Mexico, but now it’s clear that other South Texas communities want more of the market.
Those banking on this new public-private partnership are hoping that businesses and industries will give the Sharyland Business Park a serious look and move their facilities 20 miles west to the city of Mission, where this 175-acre industrial park is being built with Killam Development and various government entities.
“This is a very important project for us. It’s a partnership with the Killam Development and its 175 acres industrial park that will be created here in this area that will create great opportunities for our area and serve as an anchor,” Mission City Manager Randy Perez told Border Report at Monday’s groundbreaking.
The new business park is located a half-mile from the Anzalduas International Bridge, which connects to the thriving Mexican border city of Reynosa, Mexico.
The Anzalduas Bridge recently began allowing empty trucks to cross south into Mexico, but trucks cannot cross north. And no cargo loads are crossing the border at this bridge at all. But the bridge is being expanded and expected to have six lanes for northbound truck traffic and four lanes for southbound traffic, possibly as early as 2023, several Mission officials told Border Report.
“We’re looking forward to the Anzalduas turning commercial and we’re looking at that as future development for this area which would also increase opportunity for this area,” Perez said.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat who represents Mission, helped to get $3 million in federal funding for this business park through the U.S. Economic Development Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Cuellar told Border Report on Monday that competition among cities for businesses is good but what Abbott did mandating the truck inspections ultimately hurt Texas’ economy and was unnecessary. And he said it was unfortunate that the Pharr International Bridge, and the city of Pharr, suffered the shutdown.
“What happened there was not because of Pharr, it was because of the governor’s policy where he said he was going to be stopping every single truck to stop drugs and to stop people. But again it’s smart for the Anzalduas to look at what they’re doing and I believe they did mention cold storage and next year when Anzalduas gets a commercial (license) it’s going to be big business for this area,” Cuellar said.
Abbott has defended the truck inspections but days after the shutdown he brokered agreements with leaders of neighboring Mexican border states that have agreed to step up their own truck inspections south of the border. In return, Abbott has eased up on the truck inspections.
Abbott ordered the inspections in response to the Biden administration’s announcement that Title 42 would be lifted on May 23. The public health law has been in place since March 2020 and was enacted under President Donald Trump to help prevent the spread of coronavirus across borders.
Last week, a Louisiana court issued a temporary restraining order that would prevent the Title 42 rollback.
It is unclear whether the order will be lifted at the end of the month.