Commissioners Court votes in support of an MPO merger
Commissioners Court voted unanimously in support of the merger of the three Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Planning Organizations, which include the Hidalgo County MPO, Brownsville MPO, and Harlingen-San Benito MPO.
The resolution is the first step to making the merger a reality and served as a precursor to presenting a Re-Designation Agreement to Commissioners Court at a future meeting, said Precinct 2 Commissioner Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu, who made the motion.
"It took a lot of work from a lot of people to come up with an agreement that is fair and equitable for everyone," said Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez, acknowledging Hidalgo County MPO Director Andrew Canon and TxDOT Pharr District Engineer Pedro "Pete" Alvarez, who were both in the audience.
A Re-Designation Agreement is required by federal law to effectuate the consolidation of MPOs, said Cortez' Chief of Staff Isaac Sulemana, who presented the item.
According to Cortez, the Rio Grande Valley is on the threshold of becoming the state's fifth largest MPO, "which will allow us to access millions in transportation dollars that will address traffic congestion and ensure that our interstates, highways, and local roads can handle our area's continued growth."
Currently, the state's top four MPOs split 80 percent of the transportation funding, while the other 21 MPOs in Texas share the remaining 20 percent.
"It's a great day for our region," said Cantu.
Precinct 1 Commissioner David L. Fuentes expressed appreciation for the collaboration among all concerned.
"The regionalization of the MPO is beneficial to our entire area," Fuentes said. “It makes us one of the largest MPOs in the state and opens up access to discretionary funds for road projects."