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      Cameron County carries major projects into 2012

      Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos said the county made leaps and bounds on opportunity changing projects such as the first designation of I-69 and the West Rail project in Brownsville.

      He said it TMs the first step in bringing more jobs to the Rio Grande Valley.

      "One of the items that businesses look at, is the integrity of our infrastructure, Cascos said.

      Do we have adequate highways, and can we transport our inventory quickly?"

      One of the challenges, Cascos said, was balancing the budget, in trying to ensure every dollar was used wisely and in the best way possible.

      Another challenge that continues into 2012 is healthcare programs.

      "We've got some state mandates that are going to take effect within the next 45 to 60 days, that we're going to have to really decide what to do in regards to providing healthcare," Cascos said.

      Cascos said he also hopes officials will have a more uniformed approach during the new year, to combat spillover border violence.

      "You can TMt have it both ways, Cascos said.

      I believe that our concerns and challenges are not as drastic as other parts of the border, but in order to keep those problems from escalating and getting worse, we need to have assistance from the federal government."

      Looking further down the road, Cascos hopes to start putting long rumored plans in place in 2012.

      "We need to focus on the (second) causeway to (South Padre) Island - even though we believe that's still five to six years away - it's a process we have to go through and we just cannot let up.