House Panel Advances I-27 Naming Bill

Interstate Is a Segment of Ports-to-Plains Corridor
Interstate 27 in Texas
“I-27 will grow Texas’ [gross domestic product] by $17.2 billion and create 178,600 construction jobs," says Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar. (Ports-to-Plains Alliance)

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A freight route in Texas would formally be issued a name under legislation recently advanced by a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bipartisan I-27 Numbering Act of 2023, sponsored by Texas Reps. Jodey Arrington (R) and Henry Cuellar (D), was approved by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Nov. 15.

Specifically, the bill would issue the official name of Interstate Route 27 to certain Texas roadways that connect with the expansive multistate Ports-to-Plains Corridor. The bill’s proponents insist the corridor’s interstate highway system designation in the Lone Star State would pave the way for additional access to federal funds. The corridor is essential to agriculture and energy industries.

“I’m very proud to be working across the aisle with my friend and colleague, Rep. Henry Cuellar, on this important piece of bipartisan legislation,” Arrington said shortly after the bill’s introduction. “The Ports-to-Plains Corridor, which expands from Texas through the Heartland, serves as a critical tool for enhancing America’s agriculture and energy dominance.

 Jodey Arrington (left), Henry Cuellar

Texas Reps. Jodey Arrington (R), left, and Henry Cuellar (D) 

“This legislation to number the Texas portion of the corridor as Interstate Route 27 is one step closer to ensuring the nation’s largest agricultural and energy production centers located in West Texas are more accessible to the rest of the country.”

Cuellar added, “I-27 will grow Texas’ [gross domestic product] by $17.2 billion and create 178,600 construction jobs. It will also add 17,000 long-term employment opportunities. With this project, Laredo will also become the only port of entry with four interstate corridors: I-35, I-2, I-69 and I-27 — a boon for our trade economy.

“I thank Rep. Jodey Arrington for working with me across party lines to help secure this important infrastructure.”

With the panel’s approval this month, the bill advanced to the House floor for consideration.

On the Road

Currently, approximately 124 miles of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor have been designated and signed as Interstate 27 in Texas from I-40 in Amarillo to state Loop 289 on the south side of Lubbock.

Source: Texas Department of Transportation

On the other side of the Capitol, a companion bill advanced in the Senate earlier this year. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the bill’s sponsor, explained: “Naming Ports-to-Plains as Interstate 27, combined with expediting the permitting of new bridges along the Texas-Mexico border, will bring more jobs to our state, fix broken supply chains and spur faster economic growth for both our state and country.

“I was proud to spearhead this bipartisan legislation with Sen. [Ben Ray] Lujan and will continue to work for better infrastructure to benefit Texans across the Lone Star State.”

Naming Ports-to-Plains as Interstate 27 … will bring more jobs to our state, fix broken supply chains and spur faster economic growth.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

Sen. Ted Cruz

During the bill’s consideration, Lujan (D-N.M.), a co-sponsor, said, “Updating our critical infrastructure is vital to economic growth, and today’s vote brings this project one step closer to the finish line.”

Last year, Congress approved the stretch of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor from Laredo, Texas, to Raton, N.M., as an interstate route.

Overall, the 2,300-mile Ports-to-Plains Alliance Corridor connects Mexico to Canada across eight states.

“The Ports-to-Plains Alliance is very appreciative of the ongoing support from Sen. Ted Cruz for the Future Interstate Highway in Texas and New Mexico,” Ports-to-Plains Alliance CEO Lauren Garduno said. “Sen. Cruz continues to work in a bipartisan way to move this project forward. … Sen. Cruz worked to pass the future interstate designation into law in 2022. Now Sen. Cruz has been instrumental in passing the route numbering bill in the U.S. Senate.

“Once this bill passes the House and is signed into law, this will represent another big win for West and South Texas and for Texas and New Mexico in general.”

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