More federal funding on the way to Sun Metro, Ysleta port of entry

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El Paso will receive millions of dollars in additional funding thanks to two recent awards from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The money is added to funds already allocated for the region earlier this year.

In separate press releases, U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, and U.S. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, celebrated the $12 million grant to rebuild America’s infrastructure with sustainability and equity (RAISE) for works around the port of Ysleta d’Entrée.

“Access to safe and efficient infrastructure is critical for Texas,” Cornyn said. “I applaud this announcement and look forward to seeing the positive impact this investment will have in El Paso.”

Escobar said: “Upgrading our onshore port infrastructure has long been a priority for me. I’m so proud to have helped secure this funding that improves pedestrian safety, reduces carbon emissions and addresses racial equity issues facing Latinos as El Paso overcomes trade and travel challenges borders that define our economic success.

The funding is part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Act passed last year, which provided $1.5 billion in funding for RAISE grants through the U.S. Department of Transportation, and will be used locally for pedestrian improvements and modernization works at the Ysleta port of entry.

The Texas Department of Transportation also received more than $7.6 million in RAISE grants for the design and construction of 5.6 miles of the Paso del Norte Trail from Ysleta to Socorro.

“We look forward to partnering with the Texas Department of Transportation on the project to bring important recreational and alternative transportation amenities to Mission Valley that will make it easier for residents in our area to live active lives,” Paso del Norte Health Foundation/ Tracy Yellen, CEO of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, said in a press release.

The city of El Paso’s transit service, Sun Metro, which will receive $8.8 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration for Sun Metro to purchase 50 zero-emission paratransit vehicles and 25 charging stations to replace old models.

“The bipartisan Infrastructure Act continues to inject vital funds into our community,” Escobar said in the press release. “This award has two fantastic impacts for our community: we’re ensuring residents with disabilities have the transportation services they need while reducing air pollution and carbon emissions around El Paso.”

The funding comes from the Bus and Bus Facility Program for capital project funding for buses and bus facilities, which Sun Metro General Manager Ellen Smyth says is “vital for local transit.

“Replacing our bus vehicle inventory is critical to providing the best service to our customers,” Smyth said in a press release. “We are grateful for the outstanding work of our federal elected leaders who continue to serve our community.”

Beyond these projects, the El Paso Mobility Coalition is working alongside its partners on more than $500 million in funding requests from the U.S. Department of Transportation for a variety of projects.

The coalition includes representatives from the City of El Paso, El Paso County, El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization, Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority, Texas Department of Transportation, of the El Paso Chamber and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation/Paso del Norte Community Foundation,

Funding requests concern:

  • Safe streets for all 2022 – up to $1 million in planning funds to create a Vision Zero planning document in an effort to identify and mitigate road deaths by the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization.
  • Chrissy 2022 – for the future removal of crossings at the Zaragoza Road and Copia Street crossings by the city of El Paso.
  • Reconnecting Communities 2022 – for the design and engineering of additional recreational walking/biking trails in El Paso County by the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.
  • MEGA/Infra 2023 – for more than $500 million for the design and construction of the I-10 upgrade, including the Downtown Deck Plaza by the City of El Paso.
  • RAISE 2023 – for planning a possible downtown streetcar connection to the Medical Center of the Americas through the City of El Paso.
  • 2023 Railway Disposal Program – for the design and construction of the railroad crossing elimination to improve student safety at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
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