• Provision Would Expand Freight Funding Flexibility

The following news release was issued June 10, 2021, by the office of Congressman Cuellar.

Washington, D.C.— Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Chairman of the I-69 Bipartisan Congressional Caucus, has secured language in the INVEST in America Act that will increase federal funding to the ongoing Interstate 69 (I-69) highway infrastructure project. The National Highway Freight Network (NHFN) is currently the main source of federal funding for the I-69 project.

The INVEST in America Act was passed out of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It will now head to the House floor for a vote, before being sent to the Senate.

“Texas must be able to build enhanced infrastructure capable of facilitating movement along critical U.S. supply chains at higher capacities. When complete, I-69 will provide the most direct and seamless interstate service from Port Huron, Michigan, through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana—ultimately, connecting with Gulf Coast strategic seaports, with my District’s key land ports of entry in Laredo and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas,” said Congressman Cuellar. 

“The I-69 corridor is a strategic multi-modal, multi-state freight corridor that will facilitate international trade and bring improved interstate safety access to hundreds of rural communities. Thank you to Representative Larry Bucshon (R-IN-08), the Co-Chairman of the Caucus, for his continued support,” he said.

“The need for I-69 to improve efficient freight movement, storm evacuation and economic development has been evident for years,” said Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy, board chairman of the Alliance for I-69 Texas. “What is needed now is more funding to accelerate the process of extending and connecting the pieces of I-69.  This corridor has been under development for 25 years with strong bi-partisan support and it is time for more federal funding to help speed construction.  We have urged the removal of these restrictions on federal formula funding.  The flexibility provisions in this bill are definitely a step forward for I-69.”

The language in this updated bill will adjust previous, arbitrary limitations on the total number of miles that could be designated for such projects. The updated language will also allow states to opt out of developing a State Freight Plan approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, to receive the formula freight dollars –these state plans did not allow Texas to allocate that funding to “Future Interstate” portions of I-69.

Congressman Cuellar previously wrote a letter of support to US Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttiegieg, to advocate for this language. A group of 20 bipartisan Members of Congress signed on to the letter in support of the INVEST in America Act revised language.