The FY2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2617) passed the U.S. Senate on Thursday, December 22, 2022 and the U.S. House on Friday, December 23, 2022, with President Biden signing the legislation on Thursday, December 29, 2022. Included in the bill were four Community Projects benefitting the Ports-to-Plains Alliance corridor in Texas.
“After securing a federal highway designation for I-27 last year, I’m excited we were able to get funding to make the Ports-to-Plains Corridor a reality,” said Congressman Jodey Arrington (R-TX 19th District). “This is an important investment in West Texas’ transportation infrastructure, which will strengthen our food and fuel supply from the nation’s largest energy and agricultural production centers. All of Texas will stand to benefit from new job growth and trade expansion, allowing us to fully realize the substantial economic benefits of USMCA.”
Following the designation in H.R. 2617 of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor as an Interstate along the Corridor in Texas Congressional District 19, the first Community Project will initiate planning as recommended by the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Interstate Feasibility Study Final Report published in October 2020 by Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Arrington requested $1.6 million, which will be matched by TxDOT with $400,000, bringing $2.0 million toward initiating Project Feasibility, Preliminary Design, and Environmental for interstate upgrades along the Ports-to-Plains Texas Corridor.
The next two Community Projects address State Loop 88 located in Lubbock, Texas, which will be a major reliever route to the Ports-to-Plains Corridor. The final project included in the FY2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill will benefit the connection between the Ports-to-Plains Corridor and the Camino Real International Bridge at Eagle Pass. The bill contains $5 million requested by Congressman Tony Gonzales (TX-23). The City of Eagle Pass will provide the match of $1.25 million bringing the project total to $6.25 million.
“I am thrilled by the funding approved which will help develop the corridor quicker,” said John Osborne, chairman of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance. “The interstate designation and expansion along the Corridor in the Texas Congressional District 19 is catalytic for the future of the rural communities in South and West Texas. Not only will these communities along the Corridor feel the positive impacts as we increase the efficiency of transporting imports and exports, alleviate congestion throughout the state and improve safety for travelers, but citizens across Texas will benefit from these improvements as well.”
Ports-to-Plains is a grassroots alliance of over 200 communities and businesses, including alliance partners Heartland Expressway and Theodore Roosevelt Expressway, whose mission is to advocate for a robust international transportation infrastructure to promote economic security and prosperity throughout North America’s energy and agricultural heartland including Mexico to Canada. Additional information on the Ports-to-Plains Alliance is available at http://www.portstoplains.com/.