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Arrington and Cuellar Introduce Ports-to-Plains Highway Act of 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) introduced the “Ports-to Plains Highway Act of 2021.” This bill would expand and upgrade the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor to a modern four-lane, divided facility to improve economic development, safety, and efficiency for America’s Heartland. If signed into law, this legislation would be a critical step in highway expansion that is projected to increase Texas Gross Domestic Product $55.6 billion in the first 20 years.

“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 hour 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.”

“A future interstate designation along the Ports-to-Plains Corridor is catalytic for the future of trade in the United States,” said John Osborne, Chairman of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance. “Not only will we increase the efficiency of transporting imports and exports to our primary trading partners but this project offers tremendous safety benefits for travelers, and a recent study by Texas Department of Transportation shows significant economic benefits for the nation, the state of Texas, and the communities along the corridor.” 

Original co-sponsors of this legislation include Congressman Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Congressman Tony Gonzales (TX-23), Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12) and Congressman Kelly Armstrong (ND-At Large). 

Background: 

  • The 2,300-mile Ports-to Plains Alliance Corridor extends from Mexico to Canada through eight states in America’s Heartland. It is part of the National Highway System, which makes up about five percent of the Nation’s roads, yet it carries over 55 percentt of the vehicle miles travelled. 
  • It is an energy corridor serving traditional resources like oil and gas as well as renewable resources like wind, solar, and biofuels. Development of these resources is critical to our energy security, providing a stable and more affordable power source. The Ports-to- Plains Alliance Corridor serves the, Bakken, Niobrara, Permian Basin, Cline, Eagle Ford, emerging Mexico energy shale plays and the oils sands in Alberta.
  • It is an agriculture corridor running through four of the top eight farming states. It moves agriculture products from the Ports-to-Plains regions to urban domestic markets, to export markets on the coast, and on the Canadian and Mexican borders. 
  • It is an international trade corridor serving major international borders crossings connecting Texas to Mexico and connecting Montana and North Dakota to Canada. 
  • It is a connectivity and economic development corridor running through and connecting small towns and rural communities in America’s Heartland. To unleash America’s economy, create millions of new jobs, and boost economic growth, it is essential to connect these small towns and rural areas to the 21st economy. Moreover, a modern, four-lane divided highway will improve safety through the Corridor.
  • 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.

Full text of the legislation can be found here.

 

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