TEXAS — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is calling on President Joe Biden to permit the construction of several Texas-Mexico border bridges in border communities.
In a letter to the president, Cruz outlined the benefits of the projects, saying that they will create jobs, improve supply chain resiliency and promote economic growth. Since the bridges will connect two countries, a presidential permit is needed to sign off on the construction.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, presidential permits are "required for the construction, connection, operation, or maintenance, at the international boundaries of the United States for border crossings and other cross-border projects."
Cruz is planning on having four bridges constructed in the border communities of Brownsville, Laredo and Eagle Pass.
Several Texas politicians from both sides of the aisle have joined Cruz in signing the letter, including Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and U.S. Representatives Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, and Monica De La Cruz, R-Texas.
"These bridges are vital for facilitating trade, travel, and tourism, improving supply chain resiliency, and promoting economic growth throughout the United States, especially in the Texas border region that includes some of our state’s lowest-income areas," the lawmakers wrote.
The main call of the letter is urging President Biden to allow the construction through presidential permits and remove certain barriers for approving the cross-border bridges to be built. One of the barriers consistently mentioned in the letter is a NEPA assessment.
The National Environmental Policy Act Review Process, or NEPA, is a review that begins when a federal agency makes a bid for a federal action, such as construction of border bridges. The process determines the environmental effects a project may have.
The letter calls the process "lengthy and costly."
"Requiring a completed environmental assessment is unnecessary for the State Department to make its recommendation to you and contradicts sensible past precedent. First, the sole question for the State Department to consider as part of the presidential permit process is whether a bridge is in the foreign policy interests of our country," the letter reads.