Thanks given for water bills

The Valley Interfaith leaders recognize Democratic Senators Eddie Lucio Jr. and Juan Hinojosa, and Republican Senator Charles Perry from Lubbock, for their efforts to generate investment in South Texas’ poorest families. They authored Senate Bill 2452 and Senate Joint Resolution 79, which would allow the Texas Water Development Board to use money from the Economically Distressed Areas Program to bring millions of dollars to economically distressed areas to cover most of the costs to provide access to drinking and waste water services. These bills passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers, and on June 14 Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed S.B. 2452.

In 1989, Valley Interfaith and our sister Texas Industrial Areas Foundation organizations worked with our state senators and representatives to pass the first EDAP legislation. This legislation allowed the state to sell bonds to invest in water and wastewater services in “colonias” and other low-income areas throughout the state. EDAP money went to cities, counties, water districts and supply corporations to plan, buy land, design and build the needed water infrastructure.

This project transformed the Rio Grande Valley and communities throughout Texas by providing more than $1 billion for water projects that have served more than 400,000 residents.

Because of EDAP’s success, it ran out of money. In response, the senators authored and passed SJR 79, which will place an amendment to the Texas State Constitution on the ballot for the November 5 election. If passed, the TWDB will be able to issue up to $200 million in bonds to pay for the many remaining projects without raising the tax rate. The amendment is necessary because Texas’ Constitution does not allow the state to borrow money without the consent of the voting public.

Valley Interfaith and its sister organizations continue to support EDAP. We applaud the work of the senators and their staffs, especially Senator Lucio, for shepherding this legislation.

EDAP funds have changed the lives of countless people who live in “colonias” in South Texas, including Cameron Park in Cameron County and Las Milpas in Hidalgo County. Because of the investment in the poorest communities, EDAP has been an economic development engine that paid for the needed infrastructure to grow healthy communities and successful businesses.

Let’s not forget to vote for this amendment in November. Its passage ensures that more families live in neighborhoods that have safe drinking water and wastewater services. The senators have done their jobs, now we have to do ours and get out the vote in November to approve the amendment.

Rev. Kevin Collins, OMI

Pastor, St. Eugene de Mazenod Catholic Church, Brownsville

and Rev. Alfonso Guevara

Pastor, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, San Juan


Educate migrants

I am concerned about immigrant children held at detention centers here in the Valley. I have not seen many articles talking about providing education for these children.

It really caught my attention, regardless of how they have crossed the border, that we are all entitled to education.

I would like more information on how I as a social work student can help these children in detention centers in obtaining their education. Has there been any more news about the Texas State Teachers Association seeking to help these children?

Amalia Lozano, Edinburg


Police thanked for responses

We are property owners who have lived in our home for decades. In the last six-seven years our neighborhood unfortunately has become rentals. The house next door to us is like a saloon from a western movie.

We want to thank our McAllen Police Department for always coming to our aid when we call about a disturbance occurring there at that property. To know that our police is always there for us is priceless!

Mary Martinez, McAllen

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