A Valley on the Verge

The Rio Grande Valley may be looking at a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for economic growth in the new year as at least five transformational projects are coalescing into growth prospects unseen in this region since NAFTA was ratified a generation ago, said several political and economic leaders throughout the Valley.

“We need to be prepared to take full advantage of such an economic boom,” said state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. “The Valley is where the action is.”

Ironically, the bullish outlook for the region comes at a time of increasing concern for the economy overall in Texas due to the freefall of oil prices.

And while energy is one component of the rosy outlook for this region, experts still believe the Valley is uniquely situated to be a beneficiary of economic growth.

Nearly a dozen experts agreed that a confluence of projects on both sides of the international border that have either been in the works for years or only recently became viable are expected to impact the Valley beginning in 2015 – all pointing to a strong economic outlook as well as unprecedented regional challenges for cooperation.

They include:

>> The start up of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and its affiliated medical school.

>> The decision by SpaceX to build a launch facility at Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville.

>> The historic energy reforms in Mexico and the continued play of the Eagle Ford Shale on this side of the border.

>> The opening of a cross-country Mexican superhighway that many think may double the volume of produce imports to this region.

>> The growing worldwide clout that Mexico is establishing as a major manufacturer of automobiles.

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