EL PASO, Texas - U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes? main challenger Beto O?Rourke and other elected officials say there is absolutely no plan to build an international bridge at Yarbrough.
Reyes, though, maintains otherwise.
In recent weeks, there?s been a whole lot of talk about an international bridge at Yarbrough in the Lower Valley. Reyes? campaign sent out fliers to residents telling them there's a possibility their homes could be bulldozed and saying 5,000 families could be displaced.
?The troubling thing here is the denial of the obvious,? Reyes said, pointing to the Horizon 2040 project list by the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
It is a sort of wish list of projects and there is a proposal to build a port of entry somewhere between the bridge of the Americas and the Zaragoza bridge.
?I was born at night, but not last night. All the information here is pretty clearly indicative that somebody has a plan somewhere and with the right amount of political influence, and removing any opposition, political or otherwise, this thing can come to fruition, faster than most people realize,? Reyes said.
An MPO official told ABC-7 that the list recognizes significant projects but said the port of entry is very, very, very far away - not even in the next 20 years.
And a location - including Yarbrough - has not even been determined. The City?s International Bridges Department and Texas Department of Transportation all say there is no concrete plan for a Yarbrough bridge. Reyes insists it can still happen.
?I see the accusations as pandering scare tactics, trying to incite fear and anxiety, trying to pick up votes because the congressman, for the first time in his 16 year career, is in danger of losing his job,? O?Rourke said.
O'Rourke said the real issue is the long lines at the bridges that stifle border trade and jobs.
?And the real question is how could our congressman have been in Congress for 16 years and done nothing to fix this problem?? O?Rourke said. ?So instead of addressing the problem that threatens thousands of jobs El Paso, he's stirring fear about a bridge that doesn't exist and isn't being proposed, to try to keep his seat in Congress.?
Reyes stands by his record.
?Unless he's got a magic wand, there is no white horse that he can get on, and charge into Congress and change those kinds of things,? Reyes said. ?I've got a track record that I'm proud of.? O?Rourke said he has never advocated for a bridge in the Yarbrough location, but Reyes points to a 2008 newspaper article in which O?Rourke is quoted as saying Yarbrough would be an ideal location.
O?Rourke said he still voted against a study of a potential bridge at Yarbrough while on City Council.