• Importance of I-69 Freight Connections Stressed in Washington
I-69 will provide a freight corridor needed to link border ports of entry with seaports and inland commercial centers.
That was just one of the messages delivered by a delegation of 13 Alliance for I-69 Texas leaders who made the rounds in Washington, D.C., on May 15 and 16. They were joined by Jeff Austin III, a member of the Texas Transportation Committee.
There were a total of 18 meetings with members of Congress along the I-69 route and with key congressional committee staff to further advance the I-69 project. They were able to point to substantial progress being made in funding I-69 projects and securing official interstate designation for completed freeway sections on the Texas route.
The group stressed that I-69 is critical to the continuing development of the state and the nation’s freight system. They noted that all ten Texas deepwater ports and numerous shallow-draft ports and terminal on the Intracoastal Waterway are served by the I-69 route. Long-haul interstate freight connections will be improved once I-69 is complete. There are two dozen major railroad truck-rail intermodal facilities near the multi-state I-69 route.
They also made the point that the six South Texas border crossing in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Webb Counties combine to make up 50% of the truck crossings on the entire US-Mexico border.
Another of the messages delivered was to emphasize the key provisions of MAP-21 that should be preserved or enhanced in the next federal transportation authorization bill. These include environmental streamlining, program consolidation to provide greater state flexibility, continuation of innovative financing authority, passage of a full five-year bill, and development of a National Freight Plan to direct federal investment.
In addition, the delegation met with officials at US DOT to discuss the status of I-69 and the department’s development of the National Freight Plan called for in MAP-21 passed in 2012.
Members of the Alliance for I-69 delegation included:
Judge John Thompson, Polk County
Chairman, Alliance for I-69 Texas
Mayor Nelda Martinez, City of Corpus Christi
Mayor Domingo Montalvo, City of Wharton
Councilman Roque Vela, City of Laredo
Councilman Jorge Vera, City of Laredo
Julian Alvarez, President & CEO, Rio Grande Valley Partnership
James Carlow, Texarkana Chamber of Commerce
Judy Hawley, Commissioner, Port of Corpus Christi Authority
Alan Johnson, Chairman, Port of Harlingen Authority
Tom Tagliabue, Director of Intergovernmental Relations, City of Corpus Christi
Carlos Villarreal, City Manager, City of Laredo
Jennifer Shepard, Executive Director, Alliance for I-69 Texas
Larry Meyers, Meyers & Associates