Texas Governor Rick Perry, Governor of Tamaulipas Tomás Yarrington and Governor of Nuevo León Fernando Canales Clariond strengthened their relationships at a luncheon Wednesday, Aug. 22, the first day of the historic U.S.-Mexico Border Summit at The University of Texas-Pan American.
"The Rio Grande does not separate two nations. ... It joins two peoples," Perry said. "Mexico and the United States have a shared history and a common future. And it is along this border where we will either fail or succeed in addressing the education, health care and transportation needs of our two people."
The government leaders addressed cross-border issues between Texas and the two Mexican states, including education, transportation, trade relations and health care.
Perry said meeting the goals of border infrastructure are critical to the future relationship between Texas and Mexico. This year alone, the Texas Legislature increased transportation spending by approximately $1 billion.
"With Texas serving as the gateway to Mexico, it is time we receive congressional funding that reflects the instrumental role our state plays as a port of entry," Perry said.
"With a Texan in the White House, I believe there is no greater opportunity to end the funding discrimination that crippled Texas infrastructure under the previous administration. Good infrastructure is essential to the free flow of commerce."
According to Perry, 70 percent of all U.S.-Mexico truck traffic goes through Texas, and 15 of 27 border crossings with Mexico are in Texas.
Perry also discussed the water needs of both countries and the issue of Mexican trucks crossing over to U.S. roadways.
"The NAFTA treaty not only signaled a new era of economic possibility but also a new era of bi-national cooperation," Perry said. "That is why it is wrong and inherently detrimental to our relationship with Mexico for the U.S. Congress to pursue a protectionist policy that forbids Mexican trucks from U.S. roadways."
Yarrington praised Perry for making border affairs his top priority while in office and for realizing the needs and the potential that can be found in the border.
"By meeting here to consider new ideas and look to the future, we can help expand the possibilities of the 'special relationship.' We want to make sure that it translates into real progress at the local, state, and federal level," Yarrington said.
"In my more than two years as governor of Tamaulipas, we have been building what I call a 'regional partnership with a global vision,' knowing that the strength of a partnership also derives from the strength of our society, including our schools and other key public services."
Canales recommended the United States and Mexico work together to solve the issues that continue to plague the borders, such as drug trafficking, crime, illegal immigration and the current water issue.
"We have two approaches to a common issue - one of them is to solve the problems that are in front of us," Canales said. "The other approach is to learn how to take advantage of the enormous resources we have such as oil, natural gas and its people."
The three-day U.S.-Mexico Border Summit, which ends Friday, is bringing together high-ranking officials from both countries, representatives of major national foundations and corporate leaders to examine international trade, energy, telecommunications, utility infrastructure corridor development, border manufacturing opportunities, water, housing and health issues.