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A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE EXTENSION OF INTERSTATE 27.

       WHEREAS, Congress has already designated the Ports-to-Plains Corridor in Texas as a High Priority Corridor on the National Highway System; and

       WHEREAS, the Texas Department of Transportation published an Initial Assessment Report on the Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor in November, 2015 which stated: “The corridor will continue to be a critical link to state, national and international trade, growing population centers and critical energy and agricultural business sectors”; and

       WHEREAS, according to the Texas Freight Mobility Plan, “By 2040 over 73 percent of Texas’ population and 82 percent of the state’s employment is projected to be located within five miles of an interstate”; and

       WHEREAS, Texas has no major north-south interstate west of Interstate 35; and

       WHEREAS, the Texas Freight Mobility Plan notes that further investment alone on I-35 will not fix the problem saying, “The state must focus not only on improving existing facilities, but also on developing future freight corridors to move products to markets and exports”; and

       WHEREAS, the Texas Freight Mobility Plan goes on to recommend that TxDOT, “give additional consideration to the extension or designation of other interstate routes. Examples include I-27 and upgrades to portions of US Highway 190 to interstate standards”; and

       WHEREAS, the proposed extension of Interstate 27 connects major West Texas population and economic centers including Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa and San Angelo in addition to numerous smaller communities; and

       WHEREAS, the proposed extension of Interstate 27 intersects with Interstate 40, Interstate 20 and Interstate 10; and

       WHEREAS, the proposed extension of Interstate 27 will serve three border crossings with Mexico at Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Laredo; and

       WHEREAS, the proposed extension of Interstate 27 will be a major backbone for the energy industry in Texas serving top oil and gas producing counties as well as the growing wind energy industry; and

       WHEREAS, the proposed extension of Interstate 27 will also serve the agriculture industry including many of Texas top counties for the production of cotton, cattle, sheep and goats and other commodities; and

       WHEREAS, extending Interstate 27 in Texas is also a cost-effective option. The Texas Department of Transportation’s Initial Assessment Report on the Extension of I-27/Ports to Plains Corridor estimated that it would cost about $7 billion to upgrade the nearly 1,000 miles of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor from the northern tip of Texas to Laredo. To extend Interstate-27 approximately 500 miles from Lubbock to Laredo is projected to cost $5.2 billion. Compare that to the $4.8 billion it cost to rebuild 28 mile section of Interstate 35 east from Interstate 635 to U.S. Highway 380 in Dallas County; and

       WHEREAS, an additional cost saving option is associated with the primarily east-west, recently designated, Interstate 14 which includes a proposed segment that overlaps the Ports-to-Plains Corridor between Midland-Odessa and San Angelo, presenting an opportunity for that segment to be jointly designated as Interstate 14 and Interstate 27; and

       WHEREAS, a future interstate designation will 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; and

       WHEREAS, while designation as a future interstate is the first step in a very long process before the completion of an interstate highway, that does not lessen the importance of extending Interstate 27.

       NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE UNDERSIGNED:

       Section I. Support the extension of Interstate 27.