The city of Pharr Economic Development Corporation has much to celebrate as Governor Perry signs House Bill 474 into law.
The bill, authored by state Rep. Sergio Muñoz and sponsored by state Sen. Juan Hinojosa, will effectively mold the South Texas area into a larger hub for international distribution. House Bill 474 allows overweight trucks crossing the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge to use specific routes to reach warehouses in Pharr, McAllen, and Mission. City officials are eager to take the bill into action as a means to tackle the competitive market of top international bridges, like the Nogales Bridge in Arizona.
“The Pharr bridge is currently ranked 7th in the nation for commercial truck traffic and No. 2 in the nation for fresh produce crossing,” said Juan Guerra, chief financial officer of the Phar International Bridge. “We are expecting to be No. 1 for fresh produce in the new, massive, inter-oceanic highway between Mazatlan and Matamoros opens up.”
Local officials pushed the passing of the bill throughout the 83rd legislative session, stressing the importance of creating an overweight corridor to carry more produce to the foreign trade zone.
International overweight trucks no longer have to unload cargo prior to crossing in Reynosa as weight limitations would be curved for those crossing. City EDCs have designated Military Highway and South 10th Street in McAllen as the main corridors for heavy trucks.
The bill, in effect on September 1, permits trucks weighing an excess of 80,000 – the limit in Mexico is 125,000 pounds – pounds to pass with a fee of up to $80. Charges on excess payload will go to TxDot for infrastructure repairs on corridors, so the bill pays for itself. The Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority, which administers the permit process, will also receive funds.
“So promising is the increased amount of agricultural and manufactured goods that will be routed through our ports of entry from Mexico that the City of Pharr has signed a Sister City agreement with Ciudad Ramos Arizpe and has broken ground on a $11 million 90 acre site which will house many thousands of square feet of cold storage facilities for produce,” Muñoz said. He is also excited about the potential rise in economic activity this bill and the construction of the superhighway will bring to the region and state. The HB 474 bill is expected to spur a flurry of job growth and economic efficiencies.
“Now that the bill has been signed by the Governor, we can move on to setting up the permitting process, giving Hidalgo County’s international corridors a competitive advantage over Arizona’s largest international border town, Nogales,” Muñoz said. “These permits will increase transportation efficiency and will generate revenue for the maintenance of state roads.”
Not only will the overweight truck bill increase traffic, it will save thousands of dollars in expenses for trucking companies. Added up, truck companies typically pay an additional $2,000 per truck. Without having to unload, store, reload perishable cargo, particularly during hot summer months, several services are taken out of the expense list.
“My hope is that by implementing this bill, we will signal to a broad set of stakeholders that we believe in commerce, job creation, and making business more efficient and profitable for all Texans. In turn, we will continue to improve the standard of living for our communities,” Muñoz said.
To inquire about the HB 474 and the benefits it could provide for your distribution company, contact the Pharr EDC today at (956) 402. 4EDC.