Texas is getting a new Interstate highway after the FAST Act transportation authorization designated Interstate 14. While it is an east-west running highway through Central Texas, there is potential benefits for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor.
The designated Central Texas Corridor begins in West Texas and generally follows US Highway 190 through Killeen, Belton, Bryan-College Station, Huntsville, Livingston, Woodville and Jasper before terminating on State Highway 63 at the Sabine River. The exact route of the newly designated interstate has not been determined. However not only will I-14 intersect with the Ports-to-Plains Corridor at some point, there is potential for some portions to overlap.
According to the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition web site, a feasibility study of upgrading the US 190 corridor prepared for the Texas Department of Transportation and completed in 2012 set the stage for designation of future Interstate 14 by Congress. It recognized the benefits of a high volume east-west highway that will serve a vast section of Texas between Interstate 20 and Interstate 10. "By creating a more efficient interstate highway system in the heart of Texas, Interstate 14 will allow the state to attract more economic development and jobs," said John Thompson, chairman of the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition.
He anticipates that to the extent possible the future interstate will consist of upgrades to the existing US 190 roadway and that additional studies will be needed to determine specific local routing alternatives. US 190 improvements will take place incrementally over time as funding becomes available and traffic demand grows with the state's population and freight traffic, he said.
“Overall I view this as positive for Texas and Ports-to-Plains,” said PTP President Michael Reeves. “It shows that there is a recognized need for new interstates in Texas, provides a valuable new connection for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor, and also the potential for collaboration on an extension of Interstate 27.”