Senate Research Center   H.C.R. 186
By: Gallego (Madla)
International Relations and Trade


In 1962, Pub. L. No. 87-525 authorized the construction of an
international bridge across the Rio Grande to join Heath Canyon in Texas
with the village of La Linda, Coahuila, Mexico, for the purpose of
transporting refined ore into the United States from nearby mills in
Mexico and to one day facilitate the movement of tourists interested in
visiting the Sierra del Carmen mountain areas across from Big Bend
National Park.  Since the bridge was constructed, the Texas Department of
Transportation has, without interruption, maintained Farm-to-Market Road
2627 as a paved two-lane highway for a 28-mile stretch connecting the
bridge to United States Highway 385, which leads from that junction
southward to Big Bend National Park and northward 40 miles to Marathon and
United States Highway 90.  La Linda Bridge, also known as the Hallie
Stillwell Memorial Bridge, is still in place and is in good repair but
cannot be crossed by vehicles or pedestrians because of barriers and the
placement of "no trespassing" signs at the bridge since 1997 pursuant to
orders issued by the governments of the United States of America and the
Republic of Mexico.  The La Linda international crossing is the only
bridge structure in place and the only point of entry authorized by public
law between the United States ports of entry at Presidio and Del Rio, a
distance of 385 miles.  The principal owner of the United States section
of the international bridge at La Linda, the National Parks Conservation
Association, is prepared to donate its interest in the bridge and
associated properties to the State of Texas through the  General Land
Office so that the bridge may be reopened and operated as a legal border
crossing.  The tourism industries serving scenic and recreational areas
joined by this bridge, including the Big Bend mountains of Texas and the
Sierra del Carmen mountains of Northwest Coahuila, wish to promote,
accommodate, and economically benefit from cross border tourism but are
unable to implement those objectives if the La Linda crossing is not
functioning. The safety of tourists wishing to enjoy the area, the
binational scientific cooperation called for under existing international
agreements, and the security and public safety of communities and citizens
on both sides of the international border would be enhanced by a
functioning border crossing at La Linda.  The State of Coahuila and the
commissioners court of Brewster County, respectively represented by the
Instituto de Turismo and the Big Bend Border Council and joined by a
coalition of local residents and the Big Bend National Park
Superintendent, have twice requested that the Binational Bridges and
Border Crossings working group, which is convened semiannually by the
United States Department of State and the Mexican Secretaria de Relaciones
Exteriores, take the necessary actions to have the bridge and border
crossing at La Linda reopened by the United States and Mexican federal
governments.  The working group, composed of United States and Mexican
federal authorities responsible for authorizing international ports of
entry and required inspections along the international boundary, will
convene again in the coming months to consider action on either reopening
the bridge at La Linda or ordering its removal.  It is in the economic,
cultural, and security interest of the State of Texas and the homeland
security interest of the United States of America to have a functioning
border crossing station under the management and control of trained and
equipped law enforcement and public safety officials in the extensive area
known as the Big Bend. 


H.C.R. 186 submits the following proposals:

Provides that the 78th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby express
its support and encouragement for the reopening of the bridge and border
crossing at La Linda to accommodate trade and tourism between Texas and
Coahuila, Mexico, and to better protect residents of both  countries and
secure the protection of our nation from threats that might be associated
with the illegal crossing of individuals or materials with a lethal
intent.  Provides that the legislature hereby urges the General Land
Office to proceed expeditiously with the due diligence needed to make a
determination regarding acceptance of an ownership interest in La Linda
Bridge by the State of Texas.  Additionally it requests that the governor,
the Texas Department of Transportation, the secretary of state, the
Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas, the Parks and Wildlife
Department, the Texas Department of Economic Development, the Texas
Historical Commission, and other appropriate state agencies render
encouragement and assistance to the General Land Office as it proceeds in
this matter and render encouragement and assistance as well to Brewster
County and to private and public advocates for tourism in the Big Bend in
their efforts to develop a regional tourism economy in conjunction with a
reopened bridge at La Linda.  Provides that the legislature hereby calls
upon the United States Department of State to communicate the interest of
the State of Texas in this matter to the government of the Republic of
Mexico and to all other parties participating in decisions relating to
either reopening or removing the bridge at La Linda.  Likewise, it
provides that the legislature respectfully memorialize the Congress of the
United States to initiate whatever actions are needed to reopen La Linda
Bridge as a border crossing.  Finally it requests the Texas secretary of
state forward official copies of this resolution to the president of the
United States, to the speaker of the house of representatives and the
president of the senate of the United States Congress, and to all members
of the Texas delegation to the congress with the request that this
resolution be officially entered in the Congressional Record as a memorial
to the Congress of the United States of America.