TWDB awards additional $2M grant for Raymondville Drain

EDINBURG — The Texas Water Development Board awarded an additional $2 million for the construction of the Raymondville Drain, a regional flood control project more than 32 years in the making.

State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa announced the funding in a news release last week. Hinojosa and his lower Rio Grande Valley counterpart, state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., have been instrumental in securing funding for the long awaited project.

“The Raymondville Drain Project is a huge undertaking that will provide stormwater management to the entire region and will continue the economic growth of our communities,” Hinojosa said in the news release.

Once completed, the Raymondville Drain will stretch 63 miles from Edinburg Lake into Willacy County and empty out into the Laguna Madre. But there’s no telling when that will happen.

The project is estimated to cost about $418 million, with the federal government reportedly set to reimburse 75 percent of the costs.

And because of its magnitude, construction will be divided into six phases, Hinojosa said.

Hidalgo County broke ground on the regional floodway in October 2017, and Monitor archives indicate the county had secured $17.1 million in state funding at the time with the help of Hinojosa and Lucio.

Hinojosa, the vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has successfully included a budget rider since 2013 that has resulted in $12.1 million in grant funding for this project, his release indicated.

On top of that, in 2017, Hidalgo County Drainage District No.1 and Hinojosa successfully lobbied the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a $7 million grant from the Texas Restore Act.

“In addition to state grants, local taxpayers have also paid their share by approving $125 million in bonds for this project,” Hinojosa said.

“Over the last few years, we have worked tirelessly to identify and secure sources of available funds that would not burden our taxpayers or Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 with a loan,” he said. “To date, I have helped secure nearly $20 million in state funding for the Raymondville Drain Project and I am proud of our efforts to provide flood control for our communities.”