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Wednesday
May082019

Justification for Extenstion of Interstate 27

The I-27 extension would be a logical addition to the Interstate Highway System.
  • It would have connectivity benefitsThe I-27 extension would provide the only major north-south corridor in Texas west of I-35, and it would intersect three major east-west Interstate routes: I-10, I-20, and I-40.  It would serve three international border crossings: Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and Laredo.  It would connect major West Texas population and economic centers, including Amarillo, Lubbock, Big Spring, Midland-Odessa, and San Angelo, in addition to numerous smaller communities.  It is critical to linking the energy and agricultural sectors to state, national, and international trade.
  • It would have congestion relief benefits.   More than 2.3 million trucks passed through Laredo in 2018, more than through any other land port of entry by far (Detroit was next largest at 1.5 million).  Many of these trucks head north on I-35 toward San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth, making I-35 one of the Nation’s most congested Interstates.  The I-27 extension would provide an alternative north-south Interstate route, thereby helping to relieve congestion by diverting traffic off I-35 at Laredo.  Results would be improved on-time delivery and decreased transportation costs for goods and services.  Moreover, the $5.2 billion price tag for the 500-mile extension is cost effective when compared to the $4.8 billion cost of rebuilding just a 28-mile section of I-35 from I-635 to U.S. 380 in Dallas County.
  • It would have economic development benefits.  A future Interstate designation would be a significant new economic development tool for communities along the corridor.  Site selectors for manufacturers, warehousing and distribution recommend sites along an interstate highway and travel services businesses such as hotels, truck stops, convenience stores and restaurants, which can have a dramatic impact on small communities will also expand.  This will create much needed new jobs and expanded tax base in rural West Texas. 
  • It would have safety benefits.   Travel on the nation's Interstate Highways is about twice as safe as travel on all other roadways.  Given the large energy-related and agriculture-related trucks using this corridor, and the mix of personal, tourist, and truck traffic, safety will be greatly improved by the extension of I-27.  Fatalities and injuries will be reduced.
  • It would have national defense and national security benefits.  About 300 miles, or 60 percent, of the extension is on the Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET), which are the roads that provide defense access, continuity, and emergency capabilities for movements of personnel and equipment in both peace and war. 
  • It would benefit energy production.  The extension of Interstate 27 between Lubbock and Laredo will provide direct access into the heart of the oil and gas industry. This direct access will allow for more production and distribution of these resources. This extension is a crucial component as Texas leads the country in energy independence.
  • It would benefit cross border trade.  A future interstate designation would lead to improved cross border efficiency at the border crossings of Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Laredo. It would encourage more efficient use of all three crossings reducing wait time on congested international bridges.

 

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