New Mexico and Mexico have a promising border plan.
The communities of Santa Teresa and San Jerónimo face each other along the U.S.-Mexican border. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Chihuahua Gov. César Duarte want the towns to become an integrated industrial hub that will foster trade and create jobs.
They have committed their governments to working together on developing the first master-planned binational city. And to do it in a cohesive way, aligning highways, rail and other infrastructure to avoid duplication and the unfettered sprawl of colonias’ unplanned growth often spawned in other border cities.
New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela explains, “We want Santa Teresa and San Jerónimo to be the most competitive border zone and the land port of choice for trade in North America, including shipments to and from Asia and Europe.”
The two fledgling communities already are forging an economic partnership that promises increased economic activity to come. So far the efforts have centered around the Santa Teresa Port of Entry status and trade activity related to Mexico’s “maquila” industry.
Santa Teresa has two industrial parks that are home to companies that service the maquilas, or factories. Next door, the Union Pacific Railroad is building a large intermodal transshipment terminal and locomotive refueling station. Across the border, San Jerónimo boasts the largest maquila in Mexico, and the Mexican government has built a road connecting San Jerónimo with Juárez to access maquilas there. The New Mexico Legislature this year appropriated $6 million for new water and wastewater facilities at Santa Teresa. Other infrastructure projects on both sides of the border are in the pipeline.
The Martinez and the Duarte administrations should be recognized for their forward-thinking and unprecedented initiative. Because this is the kind of cooperation New Mexico should have with its southern neighbor.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.