The Presidio International Port Authority (PIPA)’s inaugural meeting was neither lengthy nor remarkable; however, the newly established board mapped the schematics for the future of the bridge expansion project at the Presidio International Port of Entry.
With the exception of board member and Presidio County Commissioner Jim White, who was not present at the meeting, the newly appointed authority – otherwise comprised of county judge Cinderela Guevara, county commissioner Lorenzo Hernandez, city of Presidio Mayor John Ferguson and city council member Alcee Tavarez – met at the Presidio County Annex in Presidio.
The agenda was very brief, and the board spent most of the meeting receiving a presentation by project manager Jake Giesbrecht, who was also called upon to provide recommendations to the board for moving forward on the bridge expansion project.
According to Giesbrecht, S&B – the engineering and construction firm tasked with the project’s design – has submitted its environmental assessment to the Texas Department of Transportation. This is one of a series of critical steps toward acquiring the presidential permit required for the project.
Now, Giesbrecht said, TxDOT has up to three months to review the environmental impact assessment, at which point the department can choose to accept, reject or make modifications to the document.
Once TxDOT accepts the assessment, it will then pass it forward to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which also has to approve it. Only after receiving FHWA approval can the board finally submit its presidential permit application, which should include not only the environmental assessment, but also a preliminary financial plan and schematics for the design of the project.