The Mexican Federal Highway 40 is almost complete. Almost a decade in the making, the project is less than a year from opening.
The superhighway will connect the Gulf Coast in Matamoros to the Pacific Ocean in Mazatlan.
Travel time is expected to be reduced from 20 to 12 hours between Matamoros and the state of Sinaloa. This time savings makes Brownsville port in Texas more convenient than Phoenix.
Officials from Cameron County, and the city of Brownsville officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety and trucking company representatives came together to discuss the highway and impact of the area, which is expected to open during the first quarter of 2014. They believe an additional 1,000 trucks per day could come through the Rio Grande Valley, which means a big boom in business for Brownsville and Cameron County.
The two counties split revenues at Veterans International Bridge, but long lines at the bridge, lack of facilities and talk of increased Department of Public Safety presence could prevent them from reaping full benefits of this boost.
Some trucking companies don’t expect to use the new port because of the issues at the Bridge. Many travel an extra 50 miles to cross at Pharr to avoid the downtime and they seem to have a more streamlined process.
This trend has grown over the past 20 years as truck crossings have increased in Pharr by more than 300,000 and in Laredo by 1 million each year.
Crossings are down in Brownsville by more than 5,000 in 2012 compared to numbers in 1995.
Officials are considering some changes to hopefully correct some of the problems, such as purchasing additional land at the border near the Veterans crossing for a commercial trucks staging area, and opening additional lanes to help with the long lines.
Cameron County revenue from commercial crossings has increased roughly 9 percent in the past few quarters, netting the country nearly $4 million annually. They are hoping to attract an additional 250 trucks with this superhighway, giving them a 25 percent revenue increase.
The Port of Brownsville is also looking to invest in cold storage facilities for produce storage. The Port wants companies to have a place for their trucks to go if they are diverted to the Gulf Coast in order to reach the East Coast.