• Interstate 69 project gets 'positive' reception in Washington, D.C.

The following story appeared in the Longview News-Journal on October 1, 2019.

It was written by reporter Jessica Harker.


Area representatives who traveled recently to Washington, D.C., to hear briefings on the Interstate 69 project say the nation’s capital appears to be on board.

I-69 is intended to be an interstate highway traveling from the Canadian border in Michigan to the Mexican border in Texas, using a series of improvements to existing highways to complete the project.

In East Texas, the I-69 route includes portions of U.S. 59 from Texarkana to Tenaha.
Charles Thomas, executive director of the Carthage Improvement Corp., said the event was well met by officials in Washington.

“It was all very positive. Everyone is realizing how important this project is,” Thomas said.
Thomas traveled to Washington in mid-September with Wes Morrison, the Marshall Planning and Development director; Cory Floyd from Texarkana; and Linda Thomas from Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

Morrison said he attended a reception but could not attend the briefings on the project. The event consisted of meetings with local congressmen and meeting the Mexican and Canadian ambassadors.

“The ambassadors really care about the project, because it is going straight from Mexico to Canada. So, it is going to connect everything,” Charles Thomas said.

Thomas said the project was received with optimism in Washington, though many congressmen expressed a need for additional funds. He said one way to find additional funding would be to open the road as a freight route.

“It’s very different than what we were hearing years ago at the beginning on the project, when we kept hearing it would never get built,” Thomas said. “Now everyone seems to be on board.”