House Bill 474, which aims to reduce the fee imposed on overweight Mexican fresh produce trucks, recently passed through the House without debate and is headed to the Senate.
Before crossing international borders, truck drivers typically unload several crates of fresh produce to avoid the mandatory $110 fine for overweight cargo. Mexico’s policies allow for heavier trucks on highways than does Texas, for infrastructure purposes. The bill would reduce the fee to $80, a price produce distributors are comfortable with. The fee would cover future costs for road repairs.
“In a 100-degree day, if you’re out jostling produce around, it reduces the quality of the product,” said Keith Patridge, president of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. Produce that is left behind is eventually transported into the South Texas area by trucks with lighter loads. Reducing weight fees will entice more companies to cross more produce without spoiling the quality of their goods by transferring weight between trucks.
International Bridge traffic is expected to increase with the opening of the new highway in Mexico, which saves drivers about six hours in travel time. State Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr., D-Mission believes the Rio Grande Valley region should prepare for a surge in traffic.
More cold storage facilities and distribution centers are currently being built to cope with the expected influx of traffic.
“It’s just a huge amount of economic development that’s going to occur with the increased traffic,” Muñoz said. “It’s not going to be only for South Texas, but it’s going to be increased commerce for the state.”
Your company can benefit from Pharr’s International trade zone in the fresh produce sector of South Texas. Call the Pharr EDC at 956.702.5335 to learn about business opportunities and about our local cold storage facilities.