Socorro Residents Reject Displacement Amidst Texas Department of Transportation’s Arterial Project 1

Community leaders in Socorro, TX will hold a press conference on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at 5:15 PM, at 11240 San Ysidro Road to voice their opposition to the building of a road through their homes. The City of Socorro has a meeting to take action the following day, on Thursday during their city council meeting. 


In a move that has left the Socorro community deeply concerned, the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) in collaboration with the City of Socorro, have proposed a route under its Arterial Project 1, that would impact a hundred plus residents, demolishing the homes of many who have lived in Socorro for generations. Socorro, a vibrant and close-knit community, is grappling with the far-reaching consequences of this infrastructure development initiative that has ignored extensive community input and feedback.


“Our community has heard from hundreds of residents who are opposed to this route, and many have just learned in the last few weeks that their homes may potentially be lost,” said Lorena Silvestre, a leader with EPISO/Border Interfaith and local resident. “Of the three routes proposed, this one clearly hurts the most people who are elderly, Spanish-speaking and on limited income. These are families that built their homes with their own hands. We do not accept the argument that this is the “best route” to alleviate traffic. This is just the route TXDOT thinks people will not fight back. They are wrong.”


Arterial Project 1, touted as a critical road improvement project, aims to enhance traffic flow and transportation connectivity in the region. The Socorro community is calling for greater transparency and communication from TXDOT and local government officials regarding the project’s details, timelines, and alternatives routes to be considered.


“We call on the City of Socorro to tap the brakes,” said Joe Serafin, a leader with EPISO/Border Interfaith. “The city has seen explosive growth since the initial traffic studies for this road were conducted back in 2018. We don’t oppose improving infrastructure, but this is too big of a project to rush through. And we want those who are affected to be a part of the planning and conversation, not left out or given misinformation.”


Many long-time residents share a unique perspective on the impact the project will have on their community.


“Many of my neighbors have lived here since before Socorro was even a city,” said Luis Betancourt, a resident.  “Over 35 years ago, we started organizing with EPISO to bring infrastructure to Socorro—water and sewer—that now almost everyone enjoys. And this is the thanks we get? The stress this proposal has caused us has sent several of my neighbors to the hospital. This route will go right in front of our elementary school, causing more pollution and congestion, and will create more dangerous conditions for our children and grandchildren. This route cares nothing about our past nor our future. TXDOT needs to draw another line.”