The city of Pharr, Texas, will soon begin $30 million in infrastructure projects at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge along the United States-Mexico border.
The projects are aimed at expediting border crossings for the transportation of oil and natural gas products, as well as perishable goods such as avocados from Mexico, said Luis Bazán, general director of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge.
“This project is of great importance for the border with Mexico, because the international bridge connects with Reynosa, Tamaulipas; it is also the only full-service port for exports and imports in Hidalgo County, Texas,” Bazán said in a release.
Pharr is located in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley on the border between the U.S. and the nearby Mexican city of Reynosa, Mexico.
The $30 million investment covers five infrastructure projects that will begin in early 2020. One of the projects is the construction of two commercial entrances and two exits on the bridge for trucks moving freight northbound from Mexico to the United States.
Another project will be the expansion of the loading platform at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge for dry products and cold rooms for perishables items.
“The expansion of cold rooms will increase the storage of perishables at the bridge by 40%,” Bazán said in a Sept. 9 interview with El Financiero. “An agricultural laboratory will also be installed, which will function as a training center for entomologists, to make a faster inspection.”
Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge is the number two crossing in the U.S. for fruits and vegetables (the U.S.-Mexico port of entry at Nogales, Arizona is currently number one).
More than 80 percent of avocados consumed in the U.S. are imported from Mexico, and more than 60 percent of those come in through the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, according to data from the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service.
Auto parts, televisions and avocados produced in Mexico enter the U.S. across the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge. Products such as gasoline, monitors and auto parts are shipped south from the U.S. at the same crossing.
In July, northbound trucks at the international bridge totaled 55,450, an increase of 3,016 trucks or 5.75% over the same month in 2018, according to recent statistics from the city of Pharr.
Southbound commercial trucks (freight headed into Mexico) totaled 53,858 for July, an increase of 5,334 trucks, or 10%, compared to the same month in 2018.
Revenue for the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge totaled $1.2 million for July. The commercial bridge brings in about $13 million a year in revenues to the city of Pharr, which owns the bridge.
“Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge brings maquila products from Mexico, the item that grew most last year; and trade with Mexico’s energy sector continues to increase, and we must be prepared, so there is an agreement with the Port of Brownsville to expedite oil and natural gas crossings from the U.S. to Mexico,” Bazán said.
The bridge will also soon be able to carry out joint inspection between customs personnel from Mexico and the U.S., which will help expedite the crossing of trucks, Bazán added.
The $30 million in funding occurred through a partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Donations Acceptance Program, the U.S. General Services Administration and the city of Pharr.