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PORT ISABEL, TX-South Padre Island is still open for business, emphasize state and local officials, who met yesterday in Port Isabel to brainstorm responses to the economic impact of the Queen Isabella Causeway collapse. Another session is being held today for hands-on work with affected businesses.

Michael West, director of the Texas Economic Development Department, tells GlobeSt.com that it’s critical to get the word out that the destination spot is open. The plan calls for demolishing the two sections that are still standing, remove rubble and begin rebuilding.

Ray Sullivan, Gov. Rick Perry’s representative, said rapid and significant state response are needed. Some relief is available to businesses that have SBA loans, but additional relief requires a disaster declaration by President George Bush.

A Cameron county judge must now appeal to the governor to declare a state of disaster and then the governor will forward the appeal to the President. Appeals must be made on actual not anticipated damages. The Texas Economic Development Department will be helping local officials prepare the appeals. Rene Oliveira, a Texas House representative from Brownsville, intends to seek reallocation of the legislative budget to fund the recovery.

Jeff Moseley, executive director of the Texas Economic Development Department, said, “We have great confidence in the long-term economy of South Padre and Texas Economic Development is offering our full support to the people of South Padre in these challenging times.”

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