Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz addresses Mexico’s lost rail project after dispute with Texas Governor Greg Abbott


The mayor of Laredo weighed in on recent news that the city and state will lose a major rail project worth billions due to Mexico moving the project in retaliation for the Texas governor’s enhanced truck inspections , Greg Abbott, which resulted in traffic stoppages and billions of dollars. lost for both countries.

The planned railway – the T-MEC Corridor Project – was to connect the Mexican port of Mazatlán to the Canadian city of Winnipeg and have new logistics centers along its route. Instead, the project will now pass through New Mexico, routed along the edge of western Texas through Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

Mexico’s Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier recently said the project would be moved to New Mexico as the country was “held hostage” by Abbott. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard accused Abbott of “extortion”.

Abbott said the April inspections were in retaliation for the Biden administration allowing the CDC to end the Title 42 public health order, but while their goal was to stop migrants and narcotics, no was never discovered. The order ended after Abbott held press conferences in each zone with Mexican leaders urging them to tighten border security, while also threatening to bring back inspections if he felt they were not complying. not their consent.

The order would have cost Texas $4.2 billion over 10 days and $9 billion in GDP.

After the order ended in mid-April, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz credited Abbott’s “bold decision.” But he slammed Abbott on Tuesday for his methods – despite the fact that the overall blame for the whole incident was border security – while also saying Mexico was taking ‘bold action’ with the announcement which has far-reaching impact. on his city.

“These are all bold actions that have very serious economic consequences; ultimately to be paid for by the consumer,” Saenz said.

“Trade with Mexico has been and continues to be our most powerful economic engine. With all due respect to those involved, please stop politicizing trade and the border. You are hurting the economic prosperity of all of us. The root cause of these actions, in my opinion, is the lack of border security.

“If bolder actions are to take place, they should fall to the federal government to resolve border security issues once and for all. Please stop treating the border as a political arena where parties indiscriminately score points at the expense of our lives and livelihoods. “

The mayor said he expects a better way to handle diplomacy with a business partner than the governor’s recent approach, as it only affects the economies of all stakeholders involved.

Saenz said that unless the country faces an imminent threat to national security or an action on the scale of what is currently being seen in other countries, the governments of the nations and states concerned will not should not negatively impact economic vitality by disrupting the opportunities that will ensure prosperity. to everyone involved.

“As mayor of a border town, there must be a better way to exercise diplomacy than to boldly step up retaliatory measures and threaten the economic vitality of the border, the state of Texas, the Mexico and the United States,” Saenz said. “Mexico is the number one trading partner of Texas and the city of Laredo.”

Saenz says that in 2021 alone, more than 53% of Texas’ international trade — or more than $442 billion — was with Mexico. He mentioned that Port Laredo alone contributes $242 billion in trade value and 98% with Mexico.

The mayor said he felt “Governor Abbott borrowed a page or two from President Trump’s political strategy book.” But given the significant losses suffered recently, Saenz believes that all parties involved could learn lessons to apply better diplomatic measures that will not harm the economic vitality of the region.

If the railroad project is indeed built in New Mexico, it would greatly benefit the state which reported greater commercial traffic not only during Abbott’s command, but also afterwards. These benefits, of course, were to benefit the people not only of Laredo, but of Texas as well.

“I understand that this is a proposed new freight rail line planned for long-term start-up in the Mexican seaport of Mazatlán to Monterrey, Laredo and further north,” the mayor said. . “Without a doubt, once built, Laredo will benefit directly and/or indirectly. Any commercial activity is good for Laredo, as we are the #1 land port in America.

Sanez says if he could send one message to Abbott and Mexico’s economy minister and Mexico’s federal government, it would be that they need to understand that attacking each other doesn’t benefit Mexico’s economy. either country or of all the states and cities caught up. in the midst of political theatre.

“There has to be a more effective way to solve this problem rather than punishing ourselves economically,” Saenz said. “Mexico is by far the largest trading partner of Port Laredo and Texas with 15,000 to 18,000 trucks crossing daily. Punishing the state of Texas will only have negative economic consequences for both nations.”

The mayor arrived in Washington DC on Tuesday where he and officials from Nuevo Laredo are scheduled to meet with various federal officials for the international projects of the Binational River Park and the World Trade Bridge expansion. The mayor and his office did not say whether they would discuss the railroad project with federal officials.

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