From the Office of State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., District 27
For Immediate Release
January 23, 2001
Contact: Doris Sanchez
Sen. Lucio issues statement concerning needs of Border to be addressed by 77th Legislature
AUSTIN, TX--- Senator Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) today outlined the needs of the Border that will be addressed during the 77th Legislative Session.
"This Legislature will address the needs of the Border region in a bipartisan manner and through a variety of measures. I am glad that our region continues to have a forum through our Border Affairs Subcommittee," stated Sen. Lucio, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Border Affairs.
Referring to issues tackled last session, he said, "We had a great deal of success in the Texas Senate by addressing the Border region with a $960 million Border Development Budget and through a series of key legislative measures, such as the Colonia Omnibus Bill, the Texas Bootstrap Self-Help Housing Program and GARVEE Bonds."
This session, Chairman Lucio said he "will be working with Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff, Finance Committee Chairman Rodney Ellis and members of the Border delegation, as well as the members of our subcommittee, to draft the necessary budget measures that will address some of the most fundamental needs of the economically distressed areas of the state, which includes our Border region."
Chairman Lucio and Senator Judith Zaffirini are the two Border senators who serve on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, both of who reside in and represent the Border region.
"Programs that have proven to be successful, such as our Bootstrap Housing Program and our South Texas/Border Initiatives, need to be strengthened and expanded to serve a greater population," he added. "Texas must ensure that its workforce training dollars are strategically used in the areas with the most need. The state also needs to reinforce its commitment to the region by completing Phase Two of the South Texas/Border Initiative."
Sen. Lucio stressed the need for the state to develop a complete assessment of the housing needs along the Border, as well as in every region of the State. He remarked, "We will be working with the leadership of the state to develop the mechanism necessary to establish a Texas-Mexico Commerce and International Relations Coordinated Plan. We will do this to improve Texas' trade status and to increase tourism in our state, as well as to address any important trade problems between this state and Mexico."
Sen. Lucio has already formulated a list of items that will address the needs of the Border region. Some of those include but are not limited to:
- Maximizing transportation funding and construction through the use of GARVEE Bonds;
- Providing representation of the Border region in the Transportation Commission by increasing the Commission from three to seven members;
- Increasing the efficiency of the transportation system in Texas by including Texas' ports-of-entry in the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) planning and funding process;
- Providing the Border region more specialized attention by TxDOT through establishing a permanent Border Trade Advisory Committee in that agency;
- Providing greater funds to the Border region and directing TxDOT to adjust its funding formulas for certain international traffic;
- Establishing a water/wastewater hook-up fund to help provide essential water resources to colonia residents;
- Providing the necessary funds to expand the Texas Bootstrap Program, first Border-wide and subsequently state-wide;
- Increasing the effectiveness of the Texas workforce and skills training programs, as well as adult education.