Darling bemoans the RGV’s lack of regional unity

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MCALLEN, Texas – Former McAllen Mayor Jim Darling acknowledges regional cooperation in the Rio Grande Valley has improved as a result of the creation of UTRGV and the RGV Metropolitan Planning Organization.

However, he says there is still a long, long, way to go. In a podcast with Rio Grande Guardian anchor Mark Hanna, Darling pointed to a regional water study that the cities in the region would not get behind.

“I’m chairman of COSTEP, which is a regional economic development. We go from Laredo to Brownsville. We try to recruit businesses down here, but we don’t have a city that can meet some of these obligations,” Darling said.

“We joined the Governor’s Council this year for economic development and went to Europe and all those things. And we met with people and… we can’t deliver.”

When Darling was talking about “we can’t deliver” he was referring to Valley cities not working together. If those cities were to join forces it would be a different story, he said.

The problem, though, is that elected officials in those cities are afraid of taking bold decisions for fear of losing re-election, Darling opined.

“Sometimes you’ve got to just bite the bullet and do it. Our EDCs do not work well together,” Darling said.

By way of example, Darling pointed to the Valley’s failure to come up with a major project that the region could go to Washington, D.C., to lobby for.

“You know, we go to Washington for Valley Day. So, it’s a three-day love fest. Everyone’s friends. We go into (the) offices (of members of Congress) and we don’t really have a program. We kind of have publicity for the Valley.

“But we can’t go in there and say, here’s a project. We can’t even go in there with a bridge project because we are all competing. (We could be saying) here’s a $150 million project, we need Washington’s help. We don’t have that. But we could (if everybody worked together).”

Editor’s Note: Here is a video recording of Darling’s remarks on regional cooperation:

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