Tuesday, March 15, 2022, became a historic day for those who have worked for decades with the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.

President Joe Biden signed a FY 2022 Omnibus funding bill into law, and the bill included provisions for the expansion of Interstate 27. The designation recognizes the Ports-to-Plains Corridor from Laredo, Texas to Raton, New Mexico as an addition to the Interstate Highway System.

“Establishing a four lane, federal highway for I-27 is a game-changer for our economy and quality of life in West Texas for decades to come and will strengthen our food security and energy independence for the entire country,” said Congressman Jodey Arrington (Texas CD-19). “I had three big goals for a better and stronger West Texas when I took office in 2016 - get cotton back in the farm bill, secure the B-21 bomber at Dyess (Air Force Base), and establish a federal highway for West Texas. I had a lot of help from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I’m humbled by the opportunities this will provide for generations of West Texans.”

As part of the federal legislation, IH-27's southern terminus will become the intersection of US 83 and Interstate 35 in Laredo. IH-27 will expand north of Amarillo, via US 87 to Dumas. Then IH-27 will go north of Dumas using US 287 to the Texas-Oklahoma state line. An IH-27 auxiliary route will also be signed following US 87 northwest of Dumas, continuing into New Mexico, terminating at Interstate 25 in Raton.

Additional expansion of IH-27 for the states of Oklahoma and Colorado will have to be done in future federal legislation.

Interstate 27 Expansion - Ports to Plains - 2022 - Texas and New Mexico
KFYO Graphic (Google Maps)

“I am ecstatic we received the future interstate designation for I-27 which will allow for the necessary infrastructure improvement to bring growth to our region and the state of Texas,” said Dan Pope, mayor for the City of Lubbock. “As with most momentous achievements, our thanks are due to many in their support of this project. From the Governor to our U.S. Senators and Representatives, as well as our State Representatives, this will be a changing moment in Texas for decades.”

Mayors from other West Texas cities were also happy with Tuesday's news:

“This exciting news represents years of planning and collaboration by so many people,” said Ginger Nelson, mayor for the city of Amarillo. “The extension of I-27 is vital to our future growth.”

“One of the most significant events of today was the inclusion of the designation of I-27 in the appropriation bill,” said Brenda Gunter, mayor for the city of San Angelo. “We are seeing a project that will have a significant impact on the Texas economy as well as our national GDP. The hard work and effort to accomplish this designation is finally paying off with a tremendous impact on the future of our region and the state of Texas. Thank you to all who have been a part of the process.”

The Ports-to-Plains Corridor represents three of the eight border crossings along the Texas-Mexico border: Laredo, Eagle Pass and Del Rio.

Ports-to-Plains Alliance officials estimate the expansion of Interstate 27 will provide an economic benefit for the U.S. with the addition of an estimated 1.7 million jobs and a $287 billion increase in GDP along the Ports-to-Plains Corridor.

“The impact of this designation is tremendous as it allows for the enhancement of infrastructure for domestic and international markets, creates safer roads for leisure and business travels, and connects underrepresented communities throughout the Corridor with outside markets,” John Osborne, chairman of the board for Ports-to-Plains Alliance. “We would not be celebrating this historic moment without the support of Congressman Arrington and Cuellar and Congresswoman Granger, Senators Heinrich and Lujan, as well as our team of advocates at Hance Scarborough. We are grateful for their leadership and support of this project.”

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