This week, U.S. Reps. Jodey Arrington (Texas-19) and Henry Cuellar (Texas-28) introduced The Ports-to-Plains Highway Act of 2020 (H.R. 7151) to designate the future extension of I-27 in Texas.
The proposed legislation comes a result of the Interstate Feasibility Study conducted by the Texas DOT (TxDOT), that, if passed, would be a critical step in highway expansion that is projected to increase Texas GDP $55.6 billion in the first 20 years.
“With a stronger farm bill, a new and improved trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and one of the largest energy basins' in the world—establishing a four-lane, federal highway from West Texas through the Heartland is critical to enhancing America's agriculture and energy dominance," Rep. Arrington said in a statement. "However you want to measure it—new jobs, economic growth, reductions in traffic and accidents—the return on investment for the Ports-to-Plains highway project is tremendous, not only for Texas, but for the entire country."
According to the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, the findings of the TxDOT study concluded the extension could increase Texas’ gross domestic product (GDP) by $55.6 billion, add 17,710 new jobs, decrease crash rates by 21%, and save $450 million in safety improvements. Using the GDP increase, the estimated return on investment for the extension is 76%.
Within the Ports-to-Plains Corridor, the travel cost savings are estimated by TxDOT to be $3.4 billion annually. Travel cost savings include vehicle operation, personal time and reliability, shipper logistics, and business time and reliability. Additionally, the interstate upgrade reduces average end-to-end travel times across the corridor, saving 89 minutes. The Ports-to-Plains Alliance says these savings provide businesses along the corridor improved access to the international markets and a wider range of customers within one day by truck distance.
“The I-27 corridor extension will benefit South Texas businesses and strengthen the U.S. economy by establishing new trade routes for agriculture and energy industries," Rep. Cuellar said in a statement. "I am committed to investing in our country’s infrastructure to better facilitate international trade and reap the full economic benefits of the USMCA. I want to thank Representatives Arrington, Lujan, Granger, and Thornberry for their support on this initiative.”
SOURCE: Ports-to-Plains Alliance / Office of Rep. Jodey Arrington