The entire Rio Grande Valley has been up against numerous obstacles recently. Even though we face uncertainty and danger on a daily basis, our front-line responders are working through extreme measures to keep us all safe and healthy — a reminder that our four-county region is driven by the courage and strength of our very own residents.
As we navigate through our fight against COVID-19, we simultaneously rolled up our sleeves to take on the aftermath left by Hurricane Hanna in late July. Our utility crews worked tirelessly to restore our power, water, internet, and gas. We are thankful for their commitment and passion for the RGV.
As the Rio Grande Valley continues to face challenges that are beyond our control, we would like to remind you to be mindful of others — social distance, wash your hands, wear a mask, and shop local.
It is heartbreaking to see that the virus is killing our friends, neighbors, and family members. The virus is also having a devastating impact on our economy. Fortunately, although not easily, a lot of our residents are also overcoming the virus.
By working together and protecting each other, we can overcome these difficult and challenging times. Be reminded of what is important — family, faith/place of worship, health, employment, neighbors, and the strength of our community.
Vibrant energy encompasses our region, which is composed of approximately 1.5 million residents. That includes about 600,000 individuals under the age of 25.
Banding together will provide us the opportunity to foster a safe place for our children and grandparents.
The grit and drive of our small business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate partners — along with the support of our local, state, and federal officials — will ensure that we overcome the current crisis.
We remind you to prepare yourself with the skills to adapt to a new economy and take advantage of the evolving opportunities in economic development — right here in the RGV.
Be reminded that prior to the pandemic, communities across the region were rated high on entrepreneurship — best cities for retail workers, best cities for early retirement with multiple sites to visit for attraction, entertainment, shopping, and outdoor living.
As our lifestyles are altered to navigate through the pandemic, we remind you of local businesses — shop local.
Conduct business with your local auto dealership for a new or used car and auto repairs, support local restaurants, and do business with local vendors.
The region has contributed significantly to the tremendous increase in commerce across the U.S.-Mexico border, averaging more than $140 million in goods and services per day, with over $51 billion dollars of commercial trade per year flowing across 13 land ports of entry.
The implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement brings certainty to international trade, increasing investment opportunities in our region to the current $259 billion in trade among Texas, Mexico, and Canada. Engage, support, and call your local chambers of commerce and economic development corporations and ask how they are working to provide opportunities under the new USMCA agreement.
We have also seen that renewable energy continues to grow in the RGV, with investments in wind farms across the region and liquified natural gas facilities at the Port of Brownsville. The Port of Brownsville brings $3 billion in total Texas economic results and creates nearly 51,500 jobs.
Wind farm projects will bring more than $1 billion in investments to the Rio Grande Valley.
Energy projects like NextDecade Rio Grande LNG, Texas LNG, and Annova LNG combine the regions strong energy sector; the three proposed LNG projects are forecasted to bring 6,300 jobs to our region during the construction phase and add approximately 515 permanent jobs with an average salary of $70,000 and investment totaling $38.75 billion.
The RGV is unlike any other place in the Lone Star State. Outdoor recreation, nature, ecotourism, hunting, World Birding Centers, and National Wildlife Refuge destinations with interconnected bicycle trials are all in our backyard for us to enjoy safely!
We need to continue to band together and protect each other to overcome these difficult and challenging times. Continue to find ways to thank our heroes in health care, essential workers, and elected officials who are working hard to keep us safe and helping us drive our economy.
And do not forget to use your voice by voting and be counted in the U.S. Census!