By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
The South Padre Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC) welcomed Cameron County Judge Pete Sepulveda to their regular meeting Tuesday morning. In addition, the board expressed happiness at the news that the month of April was the best April to date for the Island with sales tax up by 1.3 percent.
Cameron County Judge Pete Sepulveda came to the board with an update on the second causeway and other county projects. The Second Causeway Project has been in the works for 11 years and has been in the environmental phase for the past six years. After completing studies and mitigation plans to diminish any environmental damage, the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority (CCRMA) submitted the final environmental impact study in December. The CCRMA expects to obtain environmental clearance anytime from November 2015 to March of 2016.
As part of the project, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) held a public hearing on the Island in July 2012, and Sepulveda noted that it was one of the most successful hearings TxDOT has held statewide with over 800 in attendance and 83 percent of verbal and written comments in favor of the project. Traffic and revenue studies have been conducted, and with the surrounding area including the Rio Grande Valley and its sister cities in Mexico anticipated to double its 3.5 million population from 2010 to 7 million by 2040, officials are aiming to ensure that the Valley is prepared to handle the growth. Goals for the second access include improving economic development and quality of life in the area, improving mobility, alleviating traffic congestion and increasing safety. Upon approval of the economic clearance, officials anticipate beginning construction in 2017 or 2018.
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