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Gov. Abbott talks state’s economy, calls for increased investment into oil and gas industry during Port of Brownsville meeting

4 months 1 week 6 days ago Thursday, March 31 2022 Mar 31, 2022 March 31, 2022 7:55 AM March 31, 2022 in News

Gov. Greg Abbott partook in a roundtable discussion with members of the Port of Brownsville Wednesday afternoon that centered on the state’s economy and supply chain issues.

Officials with the Port actually touted a number of achievements during their State of the Port Address last week. Although no issues tied to the supply chain were mentioned back then or on Wednesday, Abbott said he was informed of a number of issues.

The number one issue — a lack of truck drivers — was brought up by Port of Brownsville Chairman Sergio Tito Lopez, Abbott said.

A way to assist the process, the governor explained, would be to have the Texas Department of Public Safety create a “Mega Center,” a large-scale driver license office, within the area.

According to the state's website, the only Mega Center within the Lower Rio Grande Valley is in Edinburg. Abbott said that idea was something he would “take to Austin.”

Other issues included the higher demand for a skilled workforce and — an issue brought up to him by Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino — an increased need for road connectivity.

“With a growing population — with the growing commercial activity you have — you have greater needs for greater roads,” Abbott said. “That’s obvious, and I’m taking that message back to the leaders of the Texas Transportation Department to make sure we build more roads in the Rio Grande Valley.”

Under the topic of issues within the national supply chain, Abbott was asked about what could be done to assist both businesses and consumers.

“There’s so many components to the supply chain. One of which deals with the cost of fuel and accessing fuel,” he explained. “The main thing we can do is accelerate the production of oil and gas. This last month we reached an all-time record-high in the production of oil and gas. They’re set to do it again in the month of March as well as the month of April, and so Texas is doing it’s part to lower the cost of energy to provide even more energy power — it could be ships, it could be vehicles, trucks — whatever the case may be — that is a part of it."

“The other part is cutting through the red tape. Red tape sometimes slows down the supply chain process. The third part is what we talked about in part briefly here today, but I’ve talked about before, and that is working with our ports across the state of Texas to highlight the roles that Texas ports can play.”

It was said that a new LNG facility would be soon opening, a step Abbott believes will address worldwide energy needs.

Abbott later mentioned the backlogs that have happened to the country’s west coast. He believes the state of Texas has the ability to step in.

“You see all these ships lined up for months waiting to get into a California port when in reality they could deliver their goods far more quickly if they were able to shift them through the Panama Canal and come up to Texas ports,” he said. “We’re working internationally to achieve those goals so that Texas ports will be utilized more.”

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