FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/20/2021
Representative Morales Secures $15.5 Million for US Customs and Border Protection Facilities at Presidio International Bridge
Austin, TX -- Late last night the Texas Legislature voted for final passage of Senate Bill 8, which appropriates the funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, to be used across Texas. A critical piece of this legislation includes $15.5 million dollars to fund a permanent United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) Inspection Station in Presidio to serve the South Orient Rail Line, which crosses the international border in Presidio and continues all the way to Dallas. Representative Morales spoke on the House Floor about the importance of this inspection station not just to Presidio, but for the rest of the state.
The City of Presidio suffered a fire in 2008 that burned down their International Bridge. A loss of commercial traffic, including rail imports and exports, was detrimental to the border community of Presidio, as well as the entire West Texas region. Now, thirteen years later the bridge is operational, allowing commercial and non-essential travelers to visit both Presidio and Ojinaga, once again. However, since the bridge had been out of service for so long, many of the improvements that needed to be made to the USCBP facilities had lapsed. Needs include an X-Ray Machine, as well as lighting, fencing, and other miscellaneous improvements to ensure that rail imports and exports can move through safely and efficiently.
Earlier this year, Presidio was successful in obtaining $17.5 million in federal funds for their new USCBP station, however, TxDOT needed $15.5 million to complete the inspection station that would allow for international trade to take place in an underserved region that would benefit greatly from this investment.
Representative Morales formed a coalition with other Representatives from West Texas to impress upon their colleagues from other areas of the state how important this project is for the region and for Texas as a whole. Representative Morales was able to ensure that these $15.5 million dollars were appropriated to TxDOT to fund the USCBP inspection. Representative Morales had this to say:
"Thank you to Chairman Bonnen and Representative Drew Darby (San Angelo) for working with me to ensure that these funds were appropriated for the Presidio CBP Station to expand trade opportunities. This bi-partisan support for these funds shows that we can do more for Texas when we work together and reach across the aisle. The City of Presidio can once again utilize the South Orient Rail Line to bring back rail trade to their community. This is a critical piece of trade infrastructure for the State of Texas, and the United States as a whole. I look forward to the growth and prosperity that this region will inevitably see in the near future."
Representative Eddie Morales, Jr. is currently serving his first term as the State Representative for House District 74, which includes the counties of Brewster, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, and Val Verde.