Today Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) the passage by unanimous consent of S.2143, to grant permanent rights to the Starr-Camargo Bridge Company and its successors to operate an existing toll bridge across the Rio Grande at Rio Grande City, Texas. In 1962 Congress authorized the Starr-Camargo International Bridge Company to construct, operate, and maintain a private toll-bridge between the United States and Mexico near Rio Grande City. In doing so, Congress left a level of uncertainty in the law as it did not state what should happen to the bridge once the 66 years passed. That lack of permanent authority caused constraints in long-term investments. Today, with the passage of S.2143, we have removed that uncertainty.
Note: The House and Senate passed the Cuellar-Cornyn bill and the president signed it into law on May 20.
Today the United States trades an estimated $531 billion in goods and services with Mexico, our nation’s third largest trading partner, and this trade is only expected to grow in the future. This bill, by ending the authorization’s sunset, will afford the bridge greater opportunities to pursue and finance projects that will enhance the capacity of the bridge and supporting facilities, and further support trade between the U.S. and Mexico long term.
The Starr-Camargo Bridge plays an important role in the South Texas economy as it currently supports the crossing of 200 to 300 commercial trucks per day and around 4,000 cars. The legislation had already passed the Senate by unanimous consent and passed the House this afternoon by unanimous consent. It now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Congressman Cuellar introduced the House companion bill, H.R. 3688, in October of last year.
“My district has grown rapidly in recent decades as a result of the strong culture of trade between the border region of Texas and Mexico,” Congressman Cuellar said. “With strong free trade agreements already in place and others coming, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we could see even greater commercial traffic between the United States and Mexico. That is all the more reason to permanently authorize the Starr-Camargo Bridge’s operating authority. Currently, the Starr-Camargo Bridge supports the crossing of around 200 to 300 commercial trucks every day. These trucks play an important role in transporting construction materials and fresh fruits and vegetables north and sending machinery, oil and recyclable materials south. I thank Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) for working with me on this bill and I look forward to seeing the President sign it into law.”
“The Starr-Camargo Bridge Company thanks Congressman Cuellar for his work to permanently extend our charter,” said Sam Vale, president of the Starr-Camargo Bridge Company. “The bridge plays an important role in the region’s economy and acts as a conduit between the western part of the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico. Having our charter extended will allow us to continue providing this service to the local community.”
“I thank Congressman Henry Cuellar and Senator John Cornyn for their help in permanently securing the vital operations of the Starr-Camargo Bridge, which is a major contributor to our local economy,” said Starr County Judge Eloy Vera. “This legislation is a huge investment for the people of Starr County and South Texas.”