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      Rail line to boost Hidalgo County economy

      A rail system from Mexico through the Rio Grande Valley toward Hebbronville could become reality as Mission Mayor Norberto Salinas prepares to meet with the governor of Tamaulipas.

      The rail line would extend from Altamira, Tamaulipas across the Rio Grande to Hebbronville.

      "It really looks like it's a viable project," said McAllen Economic Development Corporation CEO Keith Patridge.

      It would give the Valley two class one rail lines.

      The other is the line that is in Cameron County.

      "It really opens up our area as a variable option for the big heavy rail user type of companies," said Patridge.

      Like the Wal-Marts that have products coming in from all over the world.

      Right now companies located in the Valley mostly use trucks as their primary way of transporting goods, but with rising gas prices, Patridge said, using the rail would be more economical.

      "In order for us to continue to be able to compete with other locations in the United States and Canada, we really need to be able to focus at all levels of costs in the process," said Patridge.

      To accommodate the rail line, developers want to build a rail bridge.

      The city of Mission already has a permit to build one.

      "We have 10 more years to be able to use this permit and the sooner we get this built, the sooner the better," said Mission Mayor Norberto Salinas.

      Patridge said another option is constructing a bridge near Sullivan City, but the first step of any possible development would require permission to use the Mexican section of the rail line.

      Salinas said he will be meeting with the governor of Tamaulipas in about two to 3 three weeks to discuss it.

      "Hopefully, he will bring us good news as to whether we will be able to use that rail that isn't in use right now," said Salinas.

      Once they are given the A-Okay, a proposal for the rail bridge is next for this long-term project one that could boost the Valley's economy by making the region a hub for distributing products nationwide.