Texas is main gate for Mexico freight

Even in depths of the recession, state led the U.S. in traffic.

By David Hendricks
Published 11:21 p.m., Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Editor's note: This is the third in an occasional series examining U.S.-Mexico trade and the economy along the Texas-Mexico border.

As the United States and Mexico edge toward a new cross-border trucking arrangement, the volume of U.S.-Mexico freight passing through Texas is setting records as the U.S. economy recovers from the severe 2007-09 recession.

Texas leads the nation in freight with Mexico and has for at least 15 years. Even during the height of the recession, when freight traffic dipped overall, Texas still ranked first. In August 2010,Texas became the first state to record more than $10 billion in surface trade with Mexico in one month.

U.S.-Mexico freight traffic bounced back nicely in 2010, but it would have rebounded even stronger if the violence from warring drug cartels and organized crime gangs on Mexico's side of the border hadn't suppressed trade, border trade advocates say.

Nelson Balido, president of the San Antonio-based Border Trade Alliance, estimated that U.S.-Mexico trade might have been 5 percent to 10 percent higher in 2010 were it not for the drug cartel violence in Mexico.

“But it wasn't as big an issue last year as it was the year before,â€