Posted: 8/17/23

New Federal Funding Announced by Rep. Cuellar Focuses on Binational Air Quality Measurement



Federal funding of $150,000 focused on the design and implementation of a binational air quality measurement system for the Laredo/Nuevo Laredo cross-border region was announced by U.S. Congressman Henry Cuéllar, Ph.D. this week.

The funding, provided by the North American Development Bank (NADBank), will be used by Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) to monitor air quality along heavy truck routes, including the World Trade Bridge and the Colombia Solidarity Bridge.

Specifically, the funds will enable the installation of three air quality monitoring stations to track various pollutants that impact air quality and public health, including ozone, PM2.5 (particulate matter), and nitrogen dioxide.

Congressman Cuéllar said this system signals a shared intent to work with the U.S.’s southern neighbors to ensure binational, shared air is clean and safe in the future. “Laredo has recently seen a massive increase in trade, becoming the nation’s #1 in-land port of entry earlier this year. As more trucks come across the Rio Grande, it’s important that we monitor their impact on our air quality,” said Cong. Cuéllar, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, “The new air quality measurement system will help ensure we keep our emissions in check and stay the harmful effects of air pollution, especially for our most vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions. The air we breathe knows no borders, and it’s our responsibility to work collaboratively with our southern neighbors to ensure that the air we share is clean and safe for generations to come. Thank you to NADBank, TAMIU, and the TTI for working with me to create a cleaner, healthier future for our binational community.”

John Beckham, deputy managing director of NADBank, concurred.

“We are pleased to award these funds for air-quality monitoring stations along the route that trucks take to cross at the World Trade Bridge, the US-México border’s largest commercial port of entry here in Laredo,” Beckham said, “These funds came through the Bank’s Technical Assistance Program that provides grants to help border communities and other project sponsors create the knowledge necessary to help build more sustainable border infrastructure.”

Dr. Daniel Covarrubias, TAMIU director of the Texas Center for Border Economic Enterprise Development and co-principal investigator for the initiative, said this is a visionary investment.

“This research project helps with the vision for the future of this cross-border region. It’s a vision that recognizes the importance of responsible growth, that sees the potential in embracing nearshoring, boosting our regional economy, and continuing to redraw the map of international trade.

“But it's also a vision that respects our environment and the quality of life in our communities. This air quality measurement system will provide a crucial foundation to understand, analyze, and take action to minimize the negative impacts of commercial truck traffic. It's an investment in sustainable growth,” Dr. Covarrubias said.

One station will be installed in Nuevo Laredo, and two in Laredo at the intersections of I-69W and Los Cabos Drive, and Mines Road and I-69W. The stations will also gather environmental data, such as temperature, relative humidity, and dew point.

For additional information about this research project, contact Dr. Covarrubias at dcova@tamiu.edu or call 956.326.2520.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), located in Bryan/College Station, is a transportation research agency in the United States. TTI was created in 1950, primarily in response to the needs of the Texas Highway Department. It is a state agency and a member of The Texas A&M University System. For more, visit https://tti.tamu.edu

Registration for Fall 2023 at TAMIU is currently underway. To learn more about TAMIU's Registration processes, visit https://www.tamiu.edu/reghub/. Classes begin Monday, Aug. 28. Late registration ends Friday, Sept. 1.

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group photo grant announcement
U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar and guests celebrate the announcement of federal funding of $150,000 focused on the design and implementation of a binational air quality measurement system for the Laredo/Nuevo Laredo cross-border region.