AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement in response to the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Queen Isabella Causeway that connects Port Isabel and South Padre Island, Texas:
“Twenty years ago today, a towboat pushing four barges crashed into the Queen Isabella Causeway, knocking out two spans and leaving a gap in the causeway that could not be seen by drivers coming from the island until it was too late. In the 15 minutes it took emergency crews to get there, 10 cars carrying 11 people had plunged into the ocean, and tragically eight people lost their lives, all fellow South Texans.
“Having been there at the time as Cameron County Judge, I remember the heroic efforts of our first responders, scuba divers, county workers, TxDOT employees and community volunteers who responded immediately to this incident.
“As a result of this tragedy, TxDOT worked with local officials to design a Collapse Warning System that includes warning signs and lights, signs, a traffic gate, and an automatic notification system for TxDOT and emergency personnel.
“It should not have to take fatal accidents for us to update and modernize our country’s aging infrastructure. That is why Democrats’ current $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill is so important not only for this country but our own great state of Texas. Its passage will ensure that we can not only avoid accidents like these but also improve our public transportation and economic competitiveness.
“We will forever remember the victims of the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway and we will honor their memory by making sure these types of tragedies never happen again.”