Federal Update | State Infrastructure Investment Impact | Article from FreightWaves on I-27

March 2022  Volume 20  Issue 3


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US Designates Future Interstate 27 Part of the Interstate Highway System


The designation of future Interstate 27 (I-27) became official on Tuesday, March 15 as President Biden signed into law the appropriation bill. The designation recognizes the Ports-to-Plains Corridor from Laredo, Texas to Raton, New Mexico as an addition to the Interstate Highway System.  

“I am very excited that the I-27 highway expansion project is now written into law with the passage of the FY22 omnibus appropriations bill,” said Henry Cuellar, U.S. Rep. for District 28. This designation will make Texas and New Mexico eligible for increased federal funding to complete the I-27 highway expansion project, creating economic growth, jobs, trade opportunities across those two states. The I-27 expansion will grow the Texas GDP by $17.2 billion and create 178,000 construction jobs. It will also add 17,000 long-term employment opportunities in the new I-27 corridor. With this project, Laredo will also become the only port of entry that has three corridors:  I-35, I-69, I-27—a boon for our trade economy. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fund projects in south Texas that bring good-paying jobs and ease quality of life for my constituents.”


“Establishing a four lane, federal highway for I-27 is a game-changer for our economy and quality of life in West Texas for decades to come and will strengthen our food security and energy independence for the entire country,” said Jodey Arrington, U.S. Rep. for District 19. “I had three big goals for a better and stronger West Texas when I took office in 2016 - get cotton back in the farm bill, secure the B-21 bomber at Dyess, and establish a federal highway for West Texas.  I had a lot of help from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I’m humbled by the opportunities this will provide for generations of West Texans.”


Receiving the future interstate designation is the first step to begin fundraising for the extension of I-27. As TxDOT’s feasibility study determined, the extension of I-27 impacts the state of Texas in improving the safety of the roads by reducing the annual crash rate by 21% and providing more access and opportunities for rural America.


“I am ecstatic we received the future interstate designation for I-27 which will allow for the necessary infrastructure improvement to bring growth to our region and the state of Texas,” said Dan Pope, mayor for the City of Lubbock. “As with most momentous achievements, our thanks are due to many in their support of this project. From the Governor to our U.S. Senators and Representatives, as well as our State Representatives, this will be a changing moment in Texas for decades.”
“This exciting news represents years of planning and collaboration by so many people,” said Ginger Nelson, mayor for the city of Amarillo. “The extension of I-27 is vital to our future growth.”


“One of the most significant events of today was the inclusion of the designation of I-27 in the appropriation bill,” said Brenda Gunter, mayor for the city of San Angelo. “We are seeing a project that will have a significant impact on the Texas economy as well as our national GDP. The hard work and effort to accomplish this designation is finally paying off with a tremendous impact on the future of our region and the state of Texas. Thank you to all who have been a part of the process.”


The Corridor represents three of the eight border crossings along the Texas-Mexico border: Laredo, Eagle Pass and Del Rio. As the next steps to fund and construct the extension of I-27 begin, the economic benefit for the U.S. is the addition of 1.7 million jobs and a $287 billion increase in GDP along the Corridor. 


“The impact of this designation is tremendous as it allows for the enhancement of infrastructure for domestic and international markets, creates safer roads for leisure and business travels, and connects underrepresented communities throughout the Corridor with outside markets,” John Osborne, chairman of the board for Ports-to-Plains Alliance. “We would not be celebrating this historic moment without the support of Congressman Arrington and Cuellar and Congresswoman Granger, Senators Heinrich and Lujan, as well as our team of advocates at Hance Scarborough. We are grateful for their leadership and support of this project.”


Congressional Support for Future Interstate Designation


Without the strong support of the Congressional members, this designation could not have happened.  Early in the 117th Congress, H. R. 1608, the Ports-to-Plains Highway Act of 2021 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Kay Granger (TX-12), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Tony Gonzales (TX-23), and Kelly Armstrong (ND). In the Senate, S.705 also titled the Ports-to-Plains Highway Act of 2021, was introduced by Senators Ted Cruz (TX), John Cornyn (TX), and Kevin Cramer (ND). Both bills were designed to designate the Ports-to-Plains Corridor in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado, and a portion of the Heartland Expressway in Colorado. These bills were a critical to getting the ball rolling.

As the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure geared up its consideration of the surface transportation reauthorization bill, members of Congress in Texas and North Dakota submitted a member letter to the leadership of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure stating: “We urge the inclusion of H.R. 1608, The Ports-to-Plains Highway Act of 2021, in the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization bill.” The member letter was signed by Jodey C. Arrington (TX-19), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Kay Granger (TX-12), August Pfluger (TX-11), Kelly Armstrong (ND-At Large), Ronny L. Jackson (TX-13), and Tony Gonzales (TX-23). In addition to the member letter, U.S. Congressman Jodey Arrington (Tex-19) provided a verbal testimony during the April 14, 2021 Member Day Hearing. His testimony is as follows: “Thank you for providing Members the opportunity to share our priorities for 117th Congress. As you continue to develop your proposal to rebuild our nation's infrastructure, I'd like to take this Member's Day hearing as an opportunity to urge the inclusion of H.R. 1608, The Ports-to-Plains Highway Act of 2021, in any surface transportation reauthorization legislation. This is an issue of great importance and value to the constituents of TX-19 and rural America.”


On July 1, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of the Transportation Reauthorization Bill (H.R. 3684). The Ports-to-Plains Alliance is extremely appreciative to Texas Representatives Jodey Arrington (CD-19), Henry Cuellar (CD-28), Ronny Jackson (CD-13), Tony Gonzalez (CD-23), August Pfluger (CD-11) and Texas Congresswoman Kay Granger (CD-12), along with Nebraska Congressman Adrian Smith (CD-3) and Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas (CD-3) for supporting our efforts to have the Port-to Plains Corridor designated as a future interstate. During this process Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was integral to getting the bill amended to include the designation Language.  During this process the designation was reduce to designating the Ports-to-Plains Corridor in Texas and New Mexico.

On November 5, 2021, after the U.S. Senate substituted what became the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, and that bill passed.  The final version did not include designation language.


The Alliance’s efforts then shifted to the FY 2022 Appropriations bill.  Again Congressional support in both the House and Senate was key to success.  On October 18th of 2021, the Senate Appropriations Committee released their version of the FY2022 bill funding the US Department of Transportation.  We were very pleased that language designating the Texas and New Mexico portion of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor as a future interstate was included in the bill with the strong support of Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) who sits on the Appropriations Committee, as well as the other three senators from New Mexico and Texas (Senators. Ben Ray Luján (NM), John Cornyn (TX) and Ted Cruz (TX). The bill, including designation language, was passed by the Senate on January 13, 2022.


The U.S. House provided concurrence on H.R.2471, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 on March 10, 2022. The final bill was signed by President Biden on March 15, 2022. In the House, support came from Representatives Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Tony Gonzalez (TX-23), August Pfluger TXD-11) and Texas Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12).


Officially, the Ports to-Plains Corridor in Texas and New Mexico was designated as a Future Interstate.  The Future Interstate now includes:



   A. The Ports-Plains Corridor from Laredo, Texas, via I-27 to Denver Colorado, shall include:

      i  . In the State of Texas the Ports-to-Plains Corridor shall generally follow--

         I. I 35 from Laredo to United States Route 83 at Exit 18;

         II. United States Route 83 from Exit 18 to Carrizo Springs;

         III. United States Route 277 from Carrizo Springs to San Angelo;

         IV. United States Route 87 from San Angelo to Sterling City;

          V. From Sterling City to Lamesa, the Corridor shall follow United States Route 87 and, the corridor shall also follow Texas Route 158 from Sterling City to I 20, then via I 20 West to Texas Route 349 and, Texas Route 349 from Midland to Lamesa;

         VI. United States Route 87 from Lamesa to Lubbock;

         VII. I 27 from Lubbock to Amarillo;

         VIII. United States Route 287 from Amarillo to Dumas; and

         IX. United States Route 287 from Dumas to the border between the States of Texas and Oklahoma, and also United States Route 87 from Dumas to the border between the States of Texas and New Mexico.


      iv. In the State of New Mexico, the Ports-to-Plains Corridor shall generally follow United States Route 87 from the border between the States of Texas and New Mexico to Raton.


Media Coverage on Future Interstate Designation


In approval of the Ports-to-Plains Corridor in Texas and New Mexico has received significant media coverage across Texas and New Mexico and nationally.  As you can see media coverage was significant and across the nation. Below is a listing of media coverage available on the Internet.  If you know of additional coverage, please forward it to Duffy Hinkle (duffy@portstoplains.com) or Joe Kiely (joe.kiely@portstoplains.com).


Ports-to-Plains: I-27 expansion signed into law with federal budget
KCBD (Lubbock)


Lubbock, with help from Biden, Arrington and Congress, on the road to become an international trade route
EverythingLubbock.com (Lubbock)


Arrington: Ports-to-Plains Interstate Designation Becomes Law
Congressman Jodey Arrington Website


How I-27 will impact Midland-Odessa remains to be seen
Midland Reporter-Telegram (Midland-Odessa)


Raton to Laredo corridor added to Interstate Highway System, paving way for I-27 expansion
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal


US Designates Future Interstate 27 Part of the Interstate Highway System
KRTN Radio (Raton)


Interstate 27 Expansion for Texas and New Mexico Now Law 
KFYO Lubbock


Our view: I-27 designation will change future of West Texas - Lubbock Avalanche-Journal 
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Subscription Required)


Mayor Dan Pope Weekly Video Update (first 1:36) (Lubbock)


Rep. Jackson-Backed Infrastructure Bill Benefitting Tx-13 Signed into Law (Amarillo)
Congressman Ronny Jackson


Borderlands: Texas highway expansion ‘boon’ for trade economy
FreightWaves (National)


Borderlands: Freeway Expansion In Texas Is A “Boon” For The Commercial Economy
Trading U (National)


The Lead: US Designates Interstate 27 Part of the Interstate Highway System  
Amarillo Matters Newsletter (Amarillo)


Interstate 27 expansion signed into law
News West 9 KWES (Midland)


U.S. designates future I-27 part of Interstate Highway System
Concho Valley (San Angelo)


Biden Signs New Interstate 27 Appropriations Bill (includes Video)
CBS 7 (Midland-Odessa)


Major highway investments for trucks traveling through Laredo port of entry 
KGNS (Laredo)

New trade corridor to the north to originate in South Texas border city of Laredo
Fox 8 (North Carolina)

Cuellar, City of Laredo discuss I-27, future of I-35 

Laredo Morning Times 

New law designates I-27 extension in Texas
LandLine (National)

Interstate 14 and Interstate 27 will have impacts in West Texas
News West 9 KWES (Midland)

I-27 corridor designation through Lubbock, West Texas approved
Plainview Herald (Plainview)

New trade corridor to the north to originate in South Texas border city of Laredo
This article had wide national attention.


ValleyCentral.com (Rio Grande Valley)

WWTI - ABC50 (New York)

KIAH-TV CW39 (Houston)

WANE-TV (Indiana)

KXAN-TV (Austin)

KTVI-TV Fox 2 (St. Louis)

WWLP-TV 22 News (Massachusetts)

WNCN-TV CBS 17 (North Carolina)

WDKY-TV (Kentucky)


KRQE-TV (New Mexico)

KLST-TV (San Angelo, Texas)

WFXR-TV (Virginia)

WCBD-TV (South Carolina)

WRBL-TV (Georgia)

KFDX-TV (Wichita Falls, Texas)

WJTV-TV (Mississippi)

WKRG-TV (Alabama)

WNTZ-TV (Louisiana)

EverythingLubbock (Lubbock, TX)


Congressman Cuellar to announce Laredo’s third major interstate highway
KGNS-TV (Laredo, Texas)

US Designates Future Interstate 27 Part of the Interstate Highway System
Brady Today (Brady, Texas)

Biden Signs New Interstate 27 Appropriations Bill
KOSA-TV (Midland, Texas)

Federal Officials Have Formally Approved a 2nd Interstate Highway for San Angelo
San Angelo LIVE! (San Angelo, Texas)

U.S. designates future I-27 part of Interstate Highway System
KLST-TV (San Angelo, Texas)

Raton-to-Laredo corridor added to Interstate Highway System, paving way for I-27 expansion
San Angelo Standard-Times

Ports-to-Plains: I-27 expansion signed into law with federal budget
KLTV-TV (Tyler, Texas)

Ports-to-Plains: I-27 expansion signed into law with federal budget
KTRE-TV (Pollok, TX)

Interstate 27 Expansion for Texas and New Mexico Included in Latest Omnibus Bill
KYYW 1470

Federal designation of Interstate 27
Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)


La expansión de la interestatal 27 se convirtió en ley con el presupuesto federal
Telemundo Midland/Odessa


Eastern Plains Council of Governments Highlight Ports-to-Plains

Vincent Soule, Deputy Director; Sandy Chancey, Executive Director; and Raymond Mondragon, Government Specialist for the Eastern Plains Council of Governments (EPCOG) in New Mexico traveled to Washington DC the week of March 14, 2022.  Mondragon and Soule were invited to serve on a panel to discuss Fostering Partnerships between States & Economic Development Districts at the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Washington Policy Conference.

They shared the partnership story and working with the Ports-to-Plains Alliance and partner communities in a successful achievement of President Joe Biden signing a bill that included the Northeast New Mexico Future Interstate designation.

The representatives of EPCOG were able to meet with Congresswoman Theresa Ledger Fernandez, Due to COVID protocols they met outside the Capitol to discuss various issues related to our region, including thanking her for her support of Ports-to-Plains Future Interstate Designation. They were also able to meet with U.S. Senator Ben Ray Lujan’s, Deputy Chief of Staff Aaron Trujillo.


Save These Dates

I-27 Advisory Committee

The I-27 Advisory Committee, created in Texas by SB 1474, will hold its first meeting in Laredo, TX on April 20, 2022.  This will be a hybrid meeting with an in-person and virtual option. Future information including time, agenda and virtual link with me published at: https://www.txdot.gov/government/partnerships/i-27-advisory-committee.html.

2022 Ports-to-Plains Alliance Annual Conference

The Ports-to-Plains Alliance will be holding an in-person Annual Conference in Big Spring, TX at Hotel Settles on September 14-16, 2022.  Mark your calendar now.  Look forward to meeting live once again!  The theme of the conference will be “The Future Is NOW”.  As we move closer, watch for additional information on agenda, lodging, and registration.  

Duffy Hinkle

Vice President of Membership & Marketing

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

PO Box 16226

Lubbock, TX 79490



Joe Kiely

Vice President of Operations

Ports-to-Plains Alliance

PO Box 758

Limon, CO 80828



Cal Klewin

Executive Director

Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association

PO Box 1306

Williston, ND 58802



Deb Cottier


Heartland Expressway Association

337 Main Street

Chadron, NE 69337




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