Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) today brought together trade and transportation officials for a meeting at Laredo City Hall to discuss the development of a federal grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grant. The FASTLANE program provides dedicated funding for projects that address critical freight issues facing our nation’s highways and bridges. The Laredo Customs District is the third largest in the nation surpassed only by Los Angeles and New York, processing 280 billion dollars of trade.
Local officials anticipate trade through Laredo to increase by 40 percent over the next five years. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s is currently soliciting competitive applications for up to $850 million. The Laredo team is working to develop an application for highway improvements worth over $100 million.
The grant, which is due on December 15 of this year, would increase the number of lanes from the World Trade Bridge to Interstate Highway 35, and as well as adding direct connectors throughout loop 20.
These improvements will facilitate trade and help alleviate congestion on our streets and highways.
Congressman Cuellar and the officials present at today’s meeting also discussed their work amending a presidential permit for World Trade Bridge to expand lanes from its current eight to sixteen and installing a weight in motion system at the bridge.
In attendance were Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, City Manager Jesus Olivares, State Representative Richard P. Raymond, District Engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) - Laredo District Pete Alvarez, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Port Director Greg Alvarez for the Laredo Port of Entry, as well as representatives from Webb County, the Laredo Regional Mobility Authority, the Texas Freight Advisory Committee and the Border Trade Advisory Committee among others.
Congressman Henry Cuellar hosts a meeting with trade and transportation officials in Laredo on Friday to discuss the development of a federal transportation grant to increase trade in at the Laredo Port of Entry.
Local trade and transportation representatives discuss border infrastructure projects during a meeting hosted by Congressman Henry Cuellar in Laredo on Friday.
A one week analysis shows the freight goods that cross through the Port of Laredo. By day 7, every state in the continental United States has received goods that came through the Port of Laredo. (Courtesy TxDOT - Texas Freight Mobility Plan: National Impact of Texas-Mexico Border) Click here to view larger image.
“I organized this meeting today with trade and transportation officials at all levels of government and development to develop a federal grant application in order to improve our border trade infrastructure in Laredo,” said Congressman Cuellar. “These projects are necessary for the growth of our city and to alleviate congestion at World Trade Bridge and parts of town that receive heavy commercial traffic. These improvements would not only be tremendously beneficial for Laredo, but will also help retail, commerce and trade throughout the entire United States. I thank Mayor Saenz, City Manager Olivares, Representative Raymond and all officials who are working to invest in our city’s future.”