Roma breaks ground on new bus terminal

ROMA — Nearly half-a-mile from the actual construction site, local, state, and federal officials held shovels inside the World Birding Center to ceremoniously break ground on the city’s new bus terminal.

The event Monday was moved indoors due to recent rain that had muddied the ground. But regardless of the change in venue, officials celebrated the forthcoming construction of the bus terminal, including U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who was on hand to speak about the $700,000 in federal funds that were allocated for the project.

Those funds came from two separate grants from the Federal Transit Authority. The first was a $400,000 grant earmarked by U.S. Rep Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin — who used to represent the area — in 2005. The other $300,000 were secured by Cuellar in 2009. The city will match 20 percent of the cost.

“This will be built after many years of effort to get the funding, the design, for this much needed project,” Cuellar said.

The 2,800 square-foot bus terminal will include space for four bus lines, a waiting area for passengers, facility parking and street development.

Upon completion, the terminal will create eight to ten jobs and the city hopes it will serve as an anchor for economic development in the surrounding area.

The project was initiated by the Roma Economic Development Corporation about 18 to 20 years ago, according to Roma Mayor Roberto Salinas.

At the time, buses would use public right-of-ways and parking lots for loading and unloading.

“Besides being an inconvenience for the passengers, it was also a safety issue,” Salinas said.

The terminal, which will be located about a block away from the port of entry, will provide the necessary loading bays that will hopefully alleviate congestion.

Design for the project was handed over to Megamorphosis, Inc. out of Harlingen with NM Contracting out of McAllen selected to oversee the project.

Work on the terminal is expected to begin within the next 15 days and expected to take about nine months to be completed.