Nearly 4 weeks ago, SFDRCISD worked with parents to encourage them to transition to online instruction in an attempt to slow the surge of COVID-19 cases the community experienced just over the holidays. “We want to thank the parents who supported the idea of temporarily changing their child’s mode of learning to online instruction earlier this month”, stated SFDRCISD superintendent, Dr. Carlos Rios. “This measure was necessary amidst the sharp rise in cases we experienced in our community just 4 weeks ago. Parents understood the need to make the temporary change to keep their families safe, and in doing so helped to significantly contain the spread of COVID-19 to other families at school.”
Dr. Rios further explained that the District is ready and prepared to welcome students back to in-person instruction if they have been temporarily attending school online. “SFDRCISD continues to remain constantly vigilant of the positivity rate in the community. In fact, in the past few days we have seen the percentages come down little by little and closer to the positivity rate we have seen right before the winter holidays. We are at a point where we can safely encourage our families to transition back to face-to-face learning.”
SFDRCISD encourages parents to reach out to their child’s campuses if they are ready to suspend their temporary selection of online learning and re-instate their child’s face-to-face instruction.
Why is the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Important to Texas AND the Nation?
The Ports-to-Plains Corridor is the only north-south transportation corridor that connects and integrates the nations’ and Texas’ most strategic economic engines of agriculture production, energy production and international trade and it supports growing population and economic centers of West and South Texas.
The Ports-to-Plains Corridor supports the largest agricultural production in the country. The Ports-to-Plains Corridor supports the production and export of agricultural products, generating approximately $11 billion a year in agricultural product sales.1
Statewide, the three top agricultural commodities are: cattle generating over $12.3 billion a year, cotton over $2.6 billion a year, and milk products generating over $2.1 billion a year.2 The production and export of quality agricultural products (crops, livestock, dairy, etc.) generates billions of dollars and relies directly on highway networks for transport of products to market.
Delays in the transport of livestock may create health and safety issues for the animals.
The Ports-to-Plains Corridor facilitates the transportation of supplies for development of energy products to refineries in the Texas Gulf and to border crossings and seaports for exports to global markets.
In April 2020, the Permian Basin accounted for over 39 percent of U.S. crude oil production, up from slightly over 18 percent in 2013.3 In 2019, the Permian Basin contributed $9 billion of the $13.4 billion (67 percent) in taxes in royalties to the state.4
The Eagle Ford Shale extends over 26 counties, five of these are within the Ports-to-Plains study area counties.
It stretches from the Mexican border between Laredo and Eagle Pass up through counties east of Temple and Waco. The share of U.S. oil produced in the Eagle Ford has also grown rapidly. In January 2010, the Eagle Ford Shale accounted for one percent of U.S. crude oil produced, but in April 2020, it accounted for 11.3 percent of the nation’s crude oil production.5 In 2016, the Eagle Ford Shale contributed $3.1 billion in state and local revenues.6
Wind is also a critical piece of the energy economy in South and West Texas. In 2019, Texas led the country in wind power additions representing a record amount of 3,938 megawatts.
Texas represents more than 25 percent of U.S. 105 gigawatts per the newly released Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019.7 The central section of the Corridor was responsible for 60 percent of all Texas alternative energy. Wind turbine equipment is large and requires specialized overweight/oversize transportation.
The Corridor is vital to the continued viability of these international trade gateways, especially with the recent passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Trucks carrying this freight rely on the Ports-to-Plains Corridor for direct access from the border to the north, northwest, and northeast. Currently, I-35 is the only interstate connection to and from Laredo, which does not efficiently serve trips headed northwest.
A word from the Director of Economic Development & Small Business
Serving the City of Del Rio collectively for the past five years as the economic development director has afforded me the opportunity to work closely with the public and the business community. Overall, despite the devastating impacts of COVID-19, I do feel that our business community is resilient, innovative, and tenacious enough to pivot and overcome this tumultuous time.
Many times, when someone hears the phrase “economic development,” they automatically think it is synonymous with business attraction or recruitment. However, most people do not know that 80% of job creation in a community comes solely from the expansion of small businesses that are already there. This is why taking care of and fostering our relationships with the many small businesses within our community is vital to our economic vitality. In order to improve these efforts, it was not enough to rely solely on CARES funding to help implement a small business grant program to help alleviate the financial stress over the past year or so.
The City has recently introduced a BRE (Business Retention & Expansion) survey that all business owners/managers can fill out to better inform the City’s economic development department on what we can do to improve our resources, help modify existing incentives for businesses, and promote trainings that will better prepare our workforce. The survey takes approximately ten minutes to answer and it allows business owners/managers to express their concerns with current resources within Del Rio, plans for possible expansion, and workforce needs. This survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/873FSK9 or you can contact me at email@example.com or at (830) 488-3023 for a direct link or hard copy of the survey if you prefer.
I tip my hat to all of our hardworking and resilient business owners in Del Rio, and I am always open to any feedback, discussions, or concerns that the City can help address.