Texas lawmakers want to build a four lane ‘federal highway’ connecting Mexico to Canada

This week, two Texas Congressmen reintroduced legislation that would build a federal highway through eight states in an attempt to boost trade, cut down on traffic congestion, and aid America’s agricultural and energy industries.

On March 9, Congressmen Jodey Arrington and Henry Cuellar re-introduced the “Ports-to Plains Highway Act of 2021.” The bill was initially introduced in the summer of 2020 but did not advance.

The legislation would expand upgrade the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor (I-27) to a four-lane federal highway connecting the southern border of Texas to Canada.

Lawmakers say that the highway expansion would increase the GDP in Texas by $55.6 billion in the first 20 years.

The bill’s supporters say that the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor would support traditional energy resources like oil and gas as well as renewable resources like wind, solar, and biofuels. 

The expanded highway would also support the transport of agricultural products from the Ports-to-Plains regions to urban domestic markets, to export markets on the coast, and on the Canadian and Mexican borders. 

Lawmakers also say that the Ports-to-Plains Corridor would reduce congestion on I-25 and I-35 by moving truck traffic away from those interstates:

It is a cost-effective way to reduce congestion on Interstate-25 and Interstate-35. It runs north-south between two highly congested, north-south interstate highway corridors – I-35 to the east and I-25 to the west. The Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor can be cost-effective part of the solution. Upgrading the corridor to a modern four-lane, divided facility would cost a small fraction of the cost of improvements to I-25 and I-35. Once upgraded, a significant number of trucks are likely to divert to the Ports-to-Plains Corridor rather than sitting in congestion on I-25 or I-35, thereby providing congestion relief on these routes. Improved on time delivery and decreased transportation costs for goods and services will be the result.

“I’m very proud to be working across the aisle with my friend and colleague, Rep. Henry Cuellar, on this important piece of bipartisan legislation,” said Congressman Jodey Arrington. “Establishing a four lane, federal highway from West Texas through the Heartland is critical to enhancing America’s agriculture and energy dominance. This investment in rural America will strengthen the supply from the largest agricultural and energy production centers to the rest of the country.”

“To fully reap the benefits of the UMSCA, it is critical that we invest in strong international transportation infrastructure,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar. “This bipartisan legislation will increase trade routes for agriculture and energies industries in Texas, and throughout the country. With the I-27 corridor extension, Laredo will have three interstates, which will alleviate traffic and open business opportunities. As the representative for the country’s busiest port of entry, I am committed to making strong investments in our in transportation infrastructure to support cross-border trade and expand our economy.”

For more information on the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, please click here.