HARLINGEN, Texas – The city of Harlingen is now the latest to express support for the merger of three major Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the Rio Grande Valley. The city commission voting to approve merger terms during last night’s city commission meeting. It’s a complicated process that could mean more funds for valley transportation.
Mayor Chris Boswell – City of Harlingen, “There are still a few tweaks to make to an agreement that is circulating, but I think we’re really, really close.”
Across the Rio Grande Valley local leaders have been discussing terms on joining the MPOs.
The reason, state funds are distributed for transportation planning according to the size of the MPO. Once joined the three organizations would become the 5th largest in the state.
“That carries a lot more weight in Austin than if we’re not working together.” Said Mayor Boswell.
Joined together the proposed Valley MPO would be entitled to more funds which can then be redistributed amongst those involved.
Mayor Tony Martinez – City of Brownsville, “Nobody wants to lose what they have already. So that’s probably number one rule, we’re not going to get less than what we’re getting now.”
For the average person change will not be noticeable overnight. Because the MPOs deal with long-term projects such as highways and roads.
“Hopefully this means a little bit more convenience, a little bit more money, a better quality of life.” Added Mayor Martinez.
The Harlingen Mayor believes it may be a matter of days for the MPOs to officially merge. Various cities across the Rio Grande Valley have approved a merger. A Valley MPO merger announcement can be expected as early as next week.