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I-69 funds sought to complete highway

A map of current and proposed routes of Interstate 69 in Texas. Also includes the three southern branches of the highway: I-69E, I-69C, and I-69W.

Dredging the Corpus Christi ship channel is not the only major Coastal Bend infrastructure project seeking federal funds. About a dozen members of the Alliance for I-69 Texas recently visited the nation’s capital city to ask Congress to provide new funding for the highway from its $20 billion, two-year infrastructure budget approved in February. Working with the alliance was Jeff Austin III, a member of the Texas Transportation Commission.

In Texas, Interstate 69 reaches from Texarkana to Laredo and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. It connects Robstown to Corpus Christi. A disjointed national highway, it is being developed in Texas as a series of incremental upgrades to existing highways along U.S. 59 from Texarkana to Houston and south to Victoria. A total of 161 miles in Texas are designated as Interstate 69, including three South Texas Branches:

• U.S. 59 leading to Laredo;

• U.S. 281 south to McAllen;

• and U.S. 77 from Victoria to Corpus Christi and on to Brownsville.

Outside the Lone Star State, Interstate 69 travels through Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. It is destined for Louisiana and Arkansas, but those parts are unbuilt.

Members of Alliance for I-69, which includes all eight states, met with members of the Interstate 69 Congressional Caucus and other representatives to stress the need for continuing to develop the highway.

Alliance Vice-Chairman Gery Schwebel of IBC Bank Laredo called the highway the “poster child” for President Trump’s initiative to promote road improvements in rural areas. About 80 percent of Interstate 69 in Texas runs through rural areas.

Alliance members also asked for full funding of the federal Highway Trust Fund, a move fully supported by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. The move would expedite funding to continue progress on Interstate 69 in Texas. Work on the highway has been ongoing for 25 years.

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