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Union Pacific Railroad has applied to the U.S. Department of State for a presidential permit that would allow the Class I to operate and maintain the Brownsville West Rail Bypass International Bridge on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The current permit to operate and maintain the bridge, which is located on the border west of Brownsville, Texas, is held by Cameron County, Texas, according to a document published today in the Federal Register.
The state department has the authority to receive and issue presidential permits for the construction, connection, operation or maintenance of certain facilities at the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada. Permits are required for border facilities such as land crossings, bridges, pipelines, tunnels, conveyor belts and tramways.
UP, working with Cameron County and the city of Brownsville, completed a rail bypass to divert rail traffic from the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge to the bypass. UP took ownership of the bypass bridge in August 2015, according to UP's application.
The state department will evaluate UP's application to determine if transferring the permit from the county to UP would serve national interest. As part of its evaluation, the department is soliciting written comments from the public. They may be submitted via email at WHA-BorderAffairs@state.gov.
Cross-border traffic between the United States and Mexico is a primary business growth target for UP. To learn more about UP's cross-border business, read this article in the February issue of Progressive Railroading.