• Commissioner Alvin New Expects Faster Pace for I-69

Dramatic growth in Texas population and freight movement is expected in the coming years – 47 million people by 2050 compared to 29 million Texans today.

“That alone tells you that an I-69 that will connect South Texas to the Midwest is going to be necessary,” said Texas Transportation Commission Member Alvin New during the 2019 Alliance for I-69 Texas Annual Meeting luncheon on November 25th in Houston.

Commissioner New said the state’s expanding transportation needs make I-69 “a foregone conclusion.” 

“I-69 is definitely necessary and needed and I appreciate your efforts,” he told the audience which included I-69 board members, local officials and guests. "You have been at this for decades but you are seeing solid progress."

Also speaking at the event was Dr. Morteza Farajian, executive director of the Build America Bureau in the U.S. Department of Transportation.  He provided an overview of innovative federal highway project financing tools including low-cost TIFIA loans available to states and local governments.

Commissioner New pointed to the fact that the 2020 Unified Transportation Program adopted by the Commission includes more than a 50% increase in project funding on the I-69 System.  He said he can feel growing I-69 momentum and that I-69 continues to gain “authenticity.”  New called I-69 “an observable fact” and said he expects progress to happen faster in the years ahead. 

New said that the TxDOT commission counts on input from the Alliance and that commissioners look forward to continuing to receive advice and feedback.

He made the point that the original national Interstate Highway System was designed to support fighting wars on both coasts with most roads running east and west.  A look at the map shows the need for more interstate capacity in this Texas that will move people and goods north and south.

Population growth makes the need for more capacity obvious with 45 or 50 million people.  “It doesn’t take a lot of effort to figure it out,” he said.  “You just look and realize, well if we are going to move that many people and that much goods there is going to have to be a lot more capacity for moving product.”

New explained that freight tonnage is expected to double in the coming decades.  “Imagine trying to do that on the existing infrastructure.”

“Building out I-69 is a foregone conclusion.  It should not be a hard sales job at all.  It should just be something that you could walk up to anyone and easily explain in a short moment that if we don’t connect these folks better than today we can’t keep up with what is going on in this great state,” he said.

“In today’s world the building of infrastructure like I-69 are basically the equivalent of building railroads 150 years ago.  If you can get this kind of infrastructure done you can grow your economy.   It is important to rural Texas. It is important to all of Texas that I-69 continues to happen. If you don’t have it, you don’t have the opportunities,” Commissioner New said.

December 2019

Annual Meeting Photo Gallery

2019 Annual Alliance Board Business Meeting

(L-R) Cameron County Commissioner David Garza, and Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy, Alliance Board Chair.
Dr. Morteza Farajian, USDOT. Download Dr. Farajian's Build America Bureau slide presentation HERE.


Download coverage of I-69 progress in Polk County Enterprise Here