Your Valley Voice

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressmen Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville), Rubén Hinojosa and Henry Cuellar have announced the City of Brownsville will receive a $1.4 million award from the Texas Department of Transportation to provide a new intercity express bus service between Brownsville, South Padre Island, McAllen and other cities with buses expected to roll out later this year.

The grant award is part of the Federal Transit Administration's Section 5311 Non-urbanized Area Formula Grant Program which provides states with funding for Intercity Bus Service. The City of Brownsville in partnership with Valley Transit Company, the City of McAllen, and the City of South Padre Island will utilize $1.4 million in funds to implement Metro Connect, the express bus service system, throughout the region.

"This is a great accomplishment for our regional transit providers and for all of our communities in the Rio Grande Valley" said Congressman Vela. "When we give our constituents access to affordable and reliable transportation, we give them access to an improved quality of life."

Metro Connect will expand transportation options by linking our bus transportation hubs in Brownsville (La Plaza station) and in McAllen (Central Station).

"Innovative strategies and partnerships in the region are the key to our success. I want to congratulate these three cities for working together to leverage federal funds which will provide commuting professionals and students with much needed transportation options, said Congressman Hinojosa. "This is an example of regionalization at work. It is a great project with great timing as we begin to implement the University merger," added Congressman Cuellar.

The awarded grant funds required a match of $313,222 (which is being provided by the City of Brownsville, the City of South Padre Island and the City of McAllen for a total project cost of $1,896,680. Awarded funds will be utilized to acquire four (4) buses and fund one (1) year of operations for the regional service. Metro Connect is expected to begin operations in September 2013 and plans to provide three (3) bus lines: the green line connecting UTPA to McAllen, the red line connecting McAllen to Brownsville (with connections to VTC's Harlingen Terminal), and the blue line connecting Brownsville to South Padre Island. Planned hours of operation are Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.