After a little more than an hour in executive session Tuesday morning, Cameron County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to table a resolution supporting a proposed merger of the Rio Grande Valley’s three Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
“Basically, we don’t have a consensus yet with the representatives of the Hidalgo County leadership of the county and the cities over there on the tone of the proposed resolution and so we have to make sure that we’re all on the same page before we approve something,” Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. said after the meeting. “We’re hopeful that further discussions will get us there.”
The City of Brownsville was also scheduled to take up the resolution Tuesday afternoon, but cancelled the meeting.
“The MPO terms are still in development this time,” Brownsville City Manager Noel Bernal said.
The Rio Grande Valley has three Metropolitan Planning Organizations, or MPOs, including the Brownsville, Harlingen-San Benito and Hidalgo County MPOs. If all three merged into a single entity, the Rio Grande Valley would be the fifth largest MPO in Texas and have access to the Texas Department of Transportation’s discretionary funding.
Treviño said the ongoing discussions about the resolution in support of the merger gravitate on making sure any potential deal is fair and equitable for all Rio Grande Valley residents.
“Everybody wants to make sure that this agreement will not result in a scenario where a current MPO receives less money going forward then they’re receiving today,” he said. “And we’re trying to come up with language, again, that is fair and equitable and in compliance with federal law regarding these issues.”
Treviño said larger urban MPOs in the state have undertaken similar efforts.
“The other large urban area MPOs throughout the state have been able to work out these issues both in language and in implementation,” he said. “There should be no reason that we can’t do the same.”
The merger, according to Treviño, is long overdue.
“We’re hopeful that the leadership on both ends of the Valley will realize how important this is to the citizens of the future, the citizens we represent now and it would be a huge disappointment if we as elected leaders weren’t able to get this done for the constituency that we’ve been elected to serve and represent.”