Posted: Nov 22, 2012 7:55 PM
Updated: Nov 22, 2012 7:59 PM
CAMERON COUNTY - Residents of the country's largest colonia will have to wait longer to get some streets paved.
Basic infrastructure improvements at Cameron Park came to a halt after Cameron County ran out of funds for the paving and sidewalks project.
"It's very dangerous because it's dark," Cameron Park resident Amelia Valero said.
Valero said she worries about her granddaughter Amira's safety.
"We have to wait for the bus and there are cars passing and sometimes they don't got to the outside, they just stay on this side," Amira said.
In 2002, state funding paid for more half of the colonia to have paved streets and sidewalks. That funding has since run out. Valero's street did not get the improvements.
Community activists Albert Phillip and Lupita Sanchez Martinez helped the colonia get the original funding.
"The roads were horrible," Phillip said.
"This community in particular had worked very hard for the last 13 years," Sanchez said.
Sanchez now is working to make sure people like Valero are not forgotten.
"It's very hard to find out eventually that there's not enough. And it's never enough," Sanchez said.
Cameron County Deputy Administrator David Garcia said the funds are gone. Garcia said the Border Colonia Access Program gave Cameron County almost $15 million. He said the county needs another $1 million to finish paving the colonia.
"It's a catch 22. Do we wait, wait for the funds, or do we go ahead and do a project and spend local funds?" Garcia said.
Spending local funds will delay other projects, Garcia said.
"There are projects that are in the pipeline. There are priorities, there are different areas of the county that are also in need of funding," Garcia said.
The delay doesn't surprise Sanchez.
"Sadly, we're used to this," she said.
If the county decides to pick up the tab, the cash would come from the road and bridge materials fund, Garcia said. That budget has $1.4 million.