• Alliance Issues Call to Action in 2015
In the short years since 2010, the Texas Transportation Commission has dedicated more than $1.33 billion to the funding program for Interstate 69 projects in the state. The result is that with the addition of 12 additional miles in Houston there are now 200 miles of the I-69 system in Texas (including I-2 in the Valley) that have been designated as part of the national Interstate Highway System and signed with interstate shields.
Continued progress on I-69 depends on funding and this year I-69 advocates have two opportunities to see that more funding is available in future years to continue the step-by-step process of completing I-69 projects.
After years of temporary funding extensions, including the three-month measure just passed, there are hopeful signs that the Congress could negotiate and approve a long-term highway reauthorization bill in the coming months.
The Senate has approved a version of a six-year bill but there is no agreement in Washington on how to fund the full multi-year program.
The Senate bill does include important amendments sought by the Alliance for I-69 Texas. These include designation of State Highway 44 between Corpus Christi and Freer as part of future I-69, the creation of a new freight program totaling over $1 billion a year, and the revival of the Projects of Regional and National Significance and the Assistance for Major Projects Program (AMP) which is anticipated to provide new funds for critical, high-cost projects.
It is critically important that all members of the Texas congressional delegation support the transportation authorization bill that is ultimately brought to a vote. They need to hear the voices of community leaders and business interests strongly urging them to vote in favor of passing a long-term bill with increased funding for surface transportation.
Our second opportunity for more transportation funding for projects like I-69 comes with the November 3rd vote on Proposition 7. Texans will have the opportunity to constitutionally dedicate a significant amount of revenue to building our state’s roads and bridges -- funding that will grow with the Texas economy. This vote will not raise anyone’s taxes or fees. It will provide the Texas Department of Transportation a long-term, predictable and sustainable source of revenue critical to building road and bridge projects which take years of planning, environmental study, design, and finally construction.
Such funding is particularly helpful to advance the large set of incremental projects that make up I-69. Predictable long-term funding enables TxDOT to undertake the lengthy but necessary Project Development work that must come before construction funding. Community and business leaders can contribute to this effort by letting Texans know how important it is that they again take the opportunity the Legislature has given them to vote to increase funding for transportation. The Alliance encourages I-69 stakeholders to take every opportunity to show support for Prop 7.