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Introduction

The Rio Grande Valley is a warm and welcoming place where two cultures and two languages meet and remain linked by a shared history. On every list of the fastest growing regions in the nation, the Valley benefits from hard-working entrepreneurs, close ties and easy access to Mexico, and a quality of life that is second-to-none. The Valley sits along the northern bank of the Rio Grande River (the dividing waterway between the U.S. and Mexico border) and stretches across 4,244 square miles and four counties – Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy.

With its roots in agriculture, the Valley has since grown into a Mecca for manufacturing and trade; with other fields, such as tourism, retail, healthcare and energy, also growing by leaps and bounds. Part of the reason for this economic growth is a young and trainable workforce and accessibility to higher education – the area boasts two universities, numerous technical and community colleges, and three divisions of the UT Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC).

TRANSPORTATION

The Valley’s location is strategic and offers exceptional accessibility via ground, air and water.

Highways & Bridges
• U.S. Highways 77, 83 and 281
• State Routes 100, 107, 115, 186, 206, 336, 345, 495 and 499
• Business 83 or “Old 83” runs parallel to Expressway 83, serving as the “Main Street of the Valley,” as it connects several area communities and downtown areas
• Mexico Federal Highway 2 travels along the U.S.-Mexico border
• Nine international bridges connect the Rio Grande Valley in Texas with Mexico

Public Transportation
• McAllen Express Transit
• Rio Metro
• Valley Metro
• Valley Transit Company

Rail
• The Rio Valley Switching Company, the “Valley Railroad,” interchanges with Union Pacific Railroad in Harlingen, extending into Mission, Edinburg and the McAllen FTZ. The rail line also extends into Santa Rosa.

Airports
• Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport
• McAllen Miller International Airport
• Valley International Airport – Harlingen

Ports
• Port of Brownsville
• Port of Harlingen d Port Isabel-San Benito Navigation District
• Willacy County Navigation District

CLIMATE
The Rio Grande Valley sits just above the same latitude as the Florida Keys, with an appealing subtropical coastal region boasting hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters with temperatures that rarely drop below 50 degrees. The Valley’s winter months typically average in the 70s, while the average summertime high reaches into the mid to high 90s. This unique climate is a great economic asset, providing a favorable haven for tourists and “Winter Texans,” as well as an ideal year-round agricultural growing season, particularly for the citrus industry.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Census and 2010 Census; Tech Prep RGV 2011 Labor Market Report

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