THE MONITOR: Editorial: McAllen's expanded airport a welcoming 'gateway' to RGV
TSA agent Jorge Villanueva checks tickets and identification as passengers pass through security screening Tuesday at the McAllen Miller International Airport.
With two sitting congressmen, the McAllen mayor, city manager, a city commissioner, the presidents of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation and McAllen Chamber of Commerce, Mission EDC officials, and RGV Partnership Chamber of Commerce officials all attending a press conference to show off the completed expansion of the McAllen International Airport on Tuesday morning, it was obvious this is a defining moment for our region.
As McAllen Mayor Jim Darling put it: “An airport is a snapshot of the economic vitality of a city.”
If so, we think our picture looks pretty darn good.
The $26 million expansion not only added two new gates, a new lounge bar, retail shop and greatly widened its security checkpoint areas, but in, a larger sense, the project will improve how visitors first perceive our city upon landing here. And we all know how important first impressions are.
It’s a new, welcoming gateway to the RGV.
The 55,000 square feet added to the airport wasn’t easy, officials told us. Bad weather and a constant flow of people make working on airports not the easiest of tasks. But it was an important task they needed to undertake. And hopefully it will lead to even more visitors to the RGV.
Our congratulations to U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, and Rubén Hinojosa, D-McAllen, who both were on hand and explained their support of this project from Day 1.
Without the $12.4 million in federal funds, we’re sure this expansion would not have happened.
“It’s exciting the commerce and revenue this will bring to our area. This airport is a vital component to our economic growth.” Hinojosa said. “It will strengthen our gateway to all the Americas.”
“We wanted to make sure we have an airport that can compete with any in Texas,” Cuellar said.
We think this does.