State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa is vice-chairman of the Finance Committee,  a member of the Senate Select Committee on Transportation and the Senate Select Committee on Texas Ports.  He represents District 20 that includes McAllen and Corpus Christi.

Projects Funded by February Commission Action


Rider 48 Statewide Ports Program (Cat. 3) $20 million Per based on rankings provided by the Port Authority Advisory Committee1. Corpus Christi − Safety widening of a portion of Joe Fulton International Trade Corridor.
2. Galveston − Improvements and repairs to Old Port Industrial Rd., 33rd St., and 28th St./Harborside Dr. intersection to improve traffic flow.
3. Port Arthur − Widen Lakeshore Dr. and make associated improvements to improve traffic flow into the port.
4. Victoria − Rehabilitate and widen McCoy Rd., Canal Rd. and Old Bloomington Rd. to accommodate heavy truck traffic.
5. Freeport − Construct railroad crossing on SH 36, just west of FM 1495 and SH 36 intersection.
6. Beaumont − Widen Old Highway 90 and upgrade intersections between I‐10 and Port Access Rd.
7. Palacios − Widen land bridge on SH 35 Business and improve drainage to eliminate flooding issues.
8. Calhoun − Roadway and drainage improvements to south end of FM 1593.
9. Port Isabel − New port access road to divert trucks away from Highway 100/residential area and onto SH 48.
10. An additional candidate project for Port of Houston.

Border Infrastructure Funding (Rider 11b) for projects within 50 miles of ports-of-entry:

1. Presidio County - Add additional bridge structure at Presidio-Ojinaga International port-of-entry.

2. Maverick County - Widen US 277 from Loop 480 to Eagle Pass to five lanes.

3. Maverick, Kinney and Val Verde Counties - Super 2 passing landes on US 277 between Eagle Pass and Del Rio

4. Cameron County - SH 32 work including levee relocation.

5. Hidalgo County - Widen FM 907 to 4-lane divided standard.

 

Sen. Hinojosa Urges More Funding for Access to
Seaports and Border Ports of Entry

 

March 22, 2016

 

Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, a long-time transportation advocate in the Texas Legislature, made the case for increased state funding of key projects in a recent editorial page piece:

 

Commerce and trade are vital to the development and prosperity of our modern economies. The use of Texas waterways and roadways is quickly escalating, fueled by the expansion of the Panama Canal, the surge in the state’s population, and the growth of our produce industry.

 

Generating $270 billion a year in economic activity and $6 billion in state and local taxes per year, Texas ports play a critical role in the state’s transportation system and are key to our economy.

 

In Texas we are blessed with a unique and beautiful stretch of coastline offering our economy and businesses greater access to trade and commerce through our seaports. Similarly, our border ports of entry and bridges offer significant economic benefits as they are essential in facilitating trade with Mexico — Texas’ largest trading partner at $200 billion a year.

 

Three of our Texas ports rank in the top seven of the largest ports in the nation based on annual tonnage: Houston (2nd), Beaumont (4th), and Corpus Christi (7th). Meanwhile, the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in the Rio Grande Valley is positioned to become the busiest port of entry for fresh produce in the entire United States this year. Our ports create 1.4 million jobs and generate $82.8 billion in personal income.

 

While Texas is perfectly positioned to benefit tremendously from the global flourishing of commerce and trade, how the state responds in the coming legislative session is critical to our future economic development. It is imperative that all Texas ports statewide are primed and ready to receive increases in commerce efficiently.

 

Last month (February), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced the creation of a Senate Select Committee on Texas Ports, a timely announcement of a legislative committee tasked with studying the economic benefit of the Panama Canal expansion to Texas ports and focusing on what our ports must do to remain competitive in this new era. It is an honor to have been appointed to this committee. Having the Port of Corpus Christi, the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge and the Anzalduas International Bridge in my Senate District, I know firsthand the challenges these ports of entry face on a daily basis, as well as the tremendous growth that is occurring and the potential economic development that is just beginning. I look forward to the important work of this committee in the coming months and to craft recommendations to ensure our state prospers.

 

There is no doubt that the Texas Legislature is committed to investing in our ports and border infrastructure to enhance safety, to reduce wait times, and to ensure the movement of people and goods are more efficient and secure. Last legislative session, two separate budget riders were added to the Transportation bill pattern of the state budget for 2016-17 to fund more projects for ports and border infrastructure.

 

I successfully authored and placed Rider 11(b) in the state budget to ensure key funding. This rider, also known as the Border Infrastructure Rider, directs the Texas Department of Transportation to allocate funds for improvements designated to facilitate traffic and improve the efficiency of border inspection and security processes at land ports of entry along the Texas-Mexico border. Last month, TxDOT took action on this rider and allocated $60 million in funding. Also Rider 48, which I supported, allocated $20 million in funding for port capital improvement projects. Specifically, in my Senate District, the Port of Corpus Christi will receive $3.3 million as one of the nine ports selected statewide by the Port Authority Advisory Committee to be funded this year.

 

It is because of this commitment that we must do more. We must continue to prepare for growth and to increase funding so that more projects may be supported. Dedicating critical investments to both our seaports and land ports is dedicating ourselves to a competitive and profitable economic future for all Texans.