In The News

RIO GRANDE GUARDIAN: Nuevo León governor: Monterrey to San Antonio rail line will boost border security

By Mario Munoz, Rio Grande Guardian

Washington | Dana Youngentob, DC Press Secretary (202-340-9148) | Jose Sanz, District Press Secretary (956)-725-0639, July 2, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The governor-elect of Nuevo León says developing a high-speed passenger train between San Antonio and Monterrey will help improve security for border crossers.

Samuel Garcia Sepulveda was in Washington, D.C., this week to develop partnerships and find funding sources for mobility projects. The trip was coordinated with the help of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo.

In addition to high-speed rail, Garcia Sepulveda wants a 20-mile highway built to improve connectivity to the Gloria-Colombia International Bridge. Once that is done, he said, travelers from Monterrey can get to the bridge more efficiently and avoid cartel-controlled Tamaulipas.

“There has been insecurity outside of Nuevo León. These incidents (of violence) are happening outside Nuevo León. Nuevo León has complete protection throughout the state and maybe these political conflicts, this fight between the federal government and the government of Tamaulipas has caused a distraction from the security,” Garcia Sepulveda said, on a webinar hosted by Rep. Cuellar.

“We hope that they have, soon, the ability to make bonds between the federal government and the government of Tamaulipas. Nuevo León has to do its own work to improve the security and give the border the security it deserves.”

In his remarks, Cuellar acknowledged there is a “little bit of a difference between Nuevo León and Tamaulipas. 

“And we certainly want to make sure that we are helpful. Through appropriations, I want to help Mexico on the security part. We have done that in the past. But, it does not go through governors, it has to go to the federal government and they have to work that out,” Cuellar said.

“But, I am concerned because we have had American citizens that have disappeared. It (securing key highways on the Mexican border) is something that has to be done. With all due respect it is something we have to tackle. Otherwise it does have a ripple effect on trade, tourism and our inter-connections.”

Cuellar, pictured above with Garcia Sepulveda, said the dominance of cartels along the border needs to be acknowledged.

“If you look at the border that Mexico has with the U.S., a large portion of that is controlled by cartels. It is controlled, no ifs or buts. Whether it is the undocumented people, they will change six to eight thousand dollars a person. Just multiply how many people cross. They make a lot of money. The cartels will either control the smuggling routes that control either people or drugs. And again, the consumption is in the U.S. There is a responsibility on the U.S. side as well.”

Garcia Sepulveda said he can only speak for what is happening in Nuevo León.

“I can talk for Nuevo León and I can tell you Nuevo León is heavily armed. Our security has been needed to protect all of our borders and that is why we are looking forward for the Gloria-Colombia Highway. So, all the companies and most of the people of Nuevo Leon can go through it without crossing Tamaulipas and with this armor we have across the city they could be getting safe to the border,” Garcia Sepulveda said. 

“So we are, indeed, looking for cooperation on this highway, in trains, that maybe we can have from Monterrey to San Antonio and instead of looking at bad news, look at goods news and we can have a lot of economic growth in Colombia’s potential increases.”

Garcia Sepulveda pointed out that his state produces ten percent of Mexico’s GDP and is a magnet for people in Mexico looking for good paying jobs. He said he hopes to secure funding for a number of projects, including the Gloria-Colombia International Bridge, a new highway linking Monterrey to Mexico City that would shave one and a half hours off the traveling time, and a new rail line in Monterrey.

“All of them need money and that is why we are here in Washington, because in this city most of the things can be done.”

Cuellar said Garcia Sepulveda’s meetings in Washington, D.C., have largely been productive. However, he said there needs to be good follow-up.

“Nadbank has always worked on the environment but they are looking at changing some of the regulations to, hopefully, address issues of mobility and maybe that is something we can work on with (regard to) La Gloria, which connects the Colombia Bridge to the main road,” Cuellar said.

“The second thing is the fast train. As you know, Mexico is more advanced because they actually have the right way from Monterrey all the way to Colombia. The state government and the federal government looked at different routes and they came up on their own – that the route from San Antonio to Colombia to Laredo would be something we need to look at.”

For his part, Cuellar said he is looking to amend legislation currently under consideration.

“There is a China bill right now. Under the pandemic we learned that the supply chains with China put us at a disadvantage. So I actually have an amendment that will strengthen the supply chains between Mexico and the United States. And the largest industrial area is Monterrey. So Monterrey will have to play a very key role in this supply. So we are hoping that we will be able to accept this language because I think we prefer Mexico over China,” Cuellar said.

“We are also asking GSA (General Services Administration) to set up a U.S.-Mexico Infrastructure Coordinator in the different sectors. So, that would be good. So we can coordinate."