Gov. Perry Pushes Interstate 69 Project
by: Laurie Johnson, December 8, 2005 5:12:00 am
Twelve years ago an alliance of government and business was formed to promote the development of the I-69 corridor. The corridor would connect Mexico with the industrial Midwest, and run straight through Texas. Governor Rick Perry says it is clear the Federal Highway Trust Fund doesn't have the funds to make that possible and it's time to abandon the idea of getting federal funding.
Last session, state lawmakers passed amendments to the state's transportation code to expand TXDOT's authority in highway and rail development. Perry intends to move forward with construction and solicit finance proposals from the private sector.
The state is waiting on the results from an environmental impact study before specific construction plans can be formed. Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson says his commission has to come up with a plan and carry it out, even before he gets private backing.
Williamson says they're confident that major trucking and freight companies will submit proposals because a more efficient highway system leads to higher profits for those companies. Texas drivers can expect the corridor to be a combination of free lanes, toll lanes and commercial-traffic only lanes, along with new railways. The cost for the project is unknown until actual plans are conceived.