Congressmen Jodey Arrington and Henry Cuellar Propose Interstate 27 Expansion with Ports-to-Plains Highway Act
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated on June 16, 2020 to update the map authored by KFYO News in this article, add additional quotes from Congressman Arrington, and add information about major junctions with the proposed I-27 expansion in Texas.
Monday morning, Congressman Jodey Arrington (R- Lubbock) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D- Laredo) filed bipartisan legislation that, if passed, would bring-to-life a long-awaited large-scale expansion of the Interstate Highway 27 corridor across four states.
The Ports-to-Plains Highway Act of 2020 (H.R. 7151) would expand I-27, plus designate associated auxiliary routes, across parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado.
“I’m very proud to be working across the aisle with my good friend and colleague, Rep. Henry Cuellar, on this important legislation. With a stronger farm bill, a new and improved trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and one of the largest energy basins' in the world - establishing a four lane, federal highway from West Texas through the Heartland is critical to enhancing America's agriculture and energy dominance,” said Arrington. “However you want to measure it - new jobs, economic growth, reductions in traffic and accidents - the return on investment for the Ports-to-Plains highway project is tremendous, not only for Texas, but for the entire country."
Currently, I-27 starts in Lubbock and goes north to Amarillo, ending at the junction with I-40. I-27 would be extended northward all the way to Denver, Colorado, and south to Laredo, using parts of existing US Highways 287, 385, 87, 277, 83, plus Texas State Highways 349 & 158, and Colorado State Highway 71.
In Texas, the proposed I-27 expansion would have major junctions with I-20 in Midland and Big Spring; in Eldorado with the current US 190 and future I-14 (I-14 is already Congressionally authorized along US 190 in Texas); I-10 in Sonora, and then join up with I-35 in Laredo.
In a virtual news conference on Monday, The Texan noted that Congressman Arrington also said, "This corridor is the aorta of [agriculture] and energy, and it is the lifeblood of not only Texas but of rural communities up through middle America. The infrastructure in this region currently represents, relative to the rest of the country, five percent, but 55 percent of the nation’s economic activity."
“As the representative for the country’s busiest port of entry, I understand the importance of federal investments in transportation infrastructure, which support cross-border trade,” said Congressman Cuellar on Monday. “The I-27 corridor extension will benefit South Texas businesses and strengthen the U.S. economy by establishing new trade routes for agriculture and energy industries. I am committed to investing in our country’s infrastructure to better facilitate international trade and reap the full economic benefits of the USMCA. I want to thank Representatives Arrington, Lujan, and Thornberry for their support on this initiative.”
“Texas is a primary hub of transportation for the country, and the continued development of the Ports to Plains Corridor will provide more critical infrastructure in our community. By extending I-27, we will boost our economy, improve supply chains, and bring more Americans safely across the state. This important infrastructure will play a great role in supporting district 13, and our nation.” Congressman Mac Thornberry (TX-13)
“Interstate 27 is a critical part of the future of West and South Texas. I-27 will connect Mexico and Laredo, North America’s busiest inland part, with the oil and gas, agriculture and food production centers in the Permian Basin, South Plains and Panhandle of Texas. I-27 will connect Texas with the Midwest and Western US allowing for better movement of goods and resources while also leveraging USMCA. Texas is poised to nearly double in population by 2050, I-27 will provide a critically-needed second north-south interstate to help fund a Texas economy that is the 10th largest economy in the world.” Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope
“The findings from TxDOT’s feasibility study further solidify the need for this extension,” said John Osborne, chairman for the Ports-to-Plains Alliance. “The enormous benefits for Texas’ economy and the safety of our travelers leave no question as to whether or not the extension is needed.” John Osborne, Chairman, Ports-to-Plains Alliance, President/CEO, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance.