EDINBURG – Texas State Representative Terry Canales (D-40) along with leadership from the City of Edinburg announced $5 million in state funding for the South Texas International Airport.

The funding will be used for phase II of a five phase master plan that will increase the capacity to facilitate aircraft storage for emergency medical response services and border security operations.

The project will consist of an aircraft hangar and ancillary services to support a Level I Trauma Center.

South Texas is sparsely populated and the necessity for a medical helicopter is pertinent to the health care that is needed. Over the last session Canales served as the chair of Transportation Committee and he fought to bring money to the Rio Grande Valley for projects like the ones happening at the airport.

“The Rio Grande Valley has long been neglected with respect to funding,” Canales said. “But recently the merger of the MPOs and the coalitions that have formed have allowed us to focus on the infrastructure necessities of the Rio Grande Valley.”

Canales stressed the ports of entry are the main the necessity.

The airport in Edinburg is ideally situated on the high ground for the expansion of all aeronautical traffic in the Rio Grande Valley. The $5 million is a small step in a large expansion. Canales said the Rio Grande Valley is behind on infrastructure. To catch up is almost impossible.

But the leaders in the RGV are fighting to make sure South Texas gets its fair share.

“This starts at the local level,” Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina said. “Then we get a plan, I can tell the partnerships we have at the state level with Terry is incredible and he represents us very well in Austin.”