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TABLE 12.1: Selected Economic Development Issues for the Border Region
Issue Area Catalysts Constraints
Workforce - Large supply of low-cost labor;
- Developing program links with area colleges and universities to provide workforce training;
- Increasing technological links with area colleges and universities;
- Proximity to high concentration of maquiladoras located on the Texas-Mexico border;
- Colleges and universities with developing expertise in manufacturing (maquiladoras), foreign trade, and international relations.
- Basic skills in Kindergarten-Grade 12 - including English language-need improvement;
- High public school dropout rate;
- Need to go out of area for higher skilled labor;
- Need alternatives to college education;
- Need stronger ties with community colleges to provide relevant workforce training;
- Lack of area suppliers to the maquiladoras;
- Process of obtaining worker training funds is burdensome.
Infrastructure - Major interstate highways for people and freight;
- The Border region has 25 international bridges and border crossings;
- The South Texas region is connected to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the ports of Houston, Corpus Christi, and Brownsville;
- San Antonio and El Paso have the potential to be major rail, road, and airport logistics centers;
- Increased funding for construction of highway and water systems projects.
Arterial roads along the border need improvement;
- Increased NAFTA truck traffic is straining the Border region's road systems;
- Implementation of highway projects takes too long;
- Heavy truck traffic and long waiting lines at major international crossings;
- Lack of direct passenger and cargo flights in/out of the Border region;
- Until recently state funding for infrastructure projects has been lacking.
Quality of Life - Proximity to Mexico;
- Excellent weather year-round;
- International cultural activities;
- Increasing awareness of the importance of the environment;
- Increased state and federal funding for environmental projects;
- Increased state funding to the region's colleges and universities.
- Air quality, water quality, and attendant health issues are problems;
- Shortage of decent low-cost housing;
- Increasing crime and drug-related offenses;
- Area's education systems need improvement to attract and keep students and faculty;
- Lack of cohesive regional planning to deal with issues affecting development.
SOURCES: 1997 Border Region Focus Groups and John Sharp, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

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