By Jackie Leatherman/The Monitor
A proposal for combining the federal border-fence project with a federal levee-repair project is gaining traction, according to Rio Grande Valley officials. But mixed messages from the federal government suggest that realizing the plan is anything but a certainty.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expected to move forward on a design that combines the two projects, said Godfrey Garza Jr., flood plain administrator and manager of Hidalgo County’s Drainage District No. 1 in Edinburg. Growing acceptance of the proposal at the federal level means the county could get its long-neglected levees repaired by November next year.
Garza and Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Commissioner Hector “Tito” Palacios received the encouraging news when they visited federal officials in Washington, D.C., last week, they said. It is one of several visits Hidalgo and Cameron county officials have made to the nation’s capital in the past six months to lobby for the design and funding. “To us, it was a major deal,” Garza said of the federal officials’ initial acceptance of the design. “I think it shows we are moving in the right direction in a very aggressive manner.”