Skip to comments.Feds give support for I-69 project
Posted on 02/16/2007 2:31:57 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
MARSHALL The proposed construction of Interstate 69 has been placed on a short list of projects that could receive preferential treatment over other transportation projects for federal funding, officials said.
Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters said this week that a final decision should be made this summer on which projects will be given the funding priority.
If I-69 is selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the Corridors of the Future program, the federal department will aggressively support the project to move it "from the drawing board to completion faster than ever before," Peters said in a prepared statement.
That is good news for East Texas proponents of the project who have been working for years on seeing the proposal become a reality, said Charles Thomas, president the Carthage Economic Development Corp.
"This shows that people in federal government are realizing the importance of this project," Thomas said. "That should make the start of construction on the project come along quicker perhaps as soon as two to three years."
The Texas segment of I-69 is being developed as part of the Trans-Texas Corridor and extends from Northeast Texas to Mexico roughly along the route of U.S. 59. The goal of the I-69 corridor is to increase mobility, safety and economic development opportunities through a multi-use transportation system of roads, rail and utilities, said Amadeo Saenz, assistant executive director for the Texas Department of Transportation.
The main proposed route for I-69 would veer east near Carthage roughly along the present route of U.S. 79 into Louisiana. An alternative western segment has been proposed to run north from Carthage roughly along the route of U.S. 59 through Panola, Harrison, Marion, Cass and Bowie counties. Plans for the alternative route call for the segment of I-69 to merge with I-30 near Texarkana, said Thomas, who is the Northeast Texas representative on the I-69 Alliance.
Thomas said the I-69 Alliance, a group of representatives from along the route, continue to push for construction of the entire Texas portion of I-69 from Texarkana to Mexico.
"There should be hearings all along the corridor later this year to gather input from the public on the environmental impact of the project," Thomas said. "We're hoping the entire proposed Texas corridor is constructed."
Audrey Kariel, former Marshall mayor and chairwoman of the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce's transportation committee, also said she is hoping the western leg of the proposed interstate becomes reality.
"I'm very excited there could be federal funding involved," she said. "Locally, the project stands to impact so many things we're planning on doing that I'm glad to see the project get put on the front burner at the federal level."
Kariel said among the local projects that would be affected is the completion of a loop around the city. State officials have held up completion of Marshall's Loop 390 until they know where I-69 will be, she said.
Saenz said regardless of what happens at the federal level, he does not expect federal funds to be available to cover the cost of the Texas corridor.
"The continued federal interest in I-69 highlights how important the corridor is for national congestion relief," Saenz said. "It also shows how Texas is leading the way in innovative project delivery to accelerate needed transportation improvements."
Saenz said he expects parts of the Texas route to be under construction soon after environmental clearance is given.
"In Texas, we are developing TTC-69 so that once we have environmental approval, it can be built as needed and as private sector resources make it feasible," he said.
Trans-Texas Corridor PING!
East Texas needs a new highway. Getting from Houston to Texarkana is like driving old Route 66.
There's no such thing accorinding to Michael Medved.
They don't have any other numbers left? Must it be I-69?
No such thing as what? Surely he's aware that the TTC is for real.
Yes, YES, OH GOD, YES!
The Arkansas portion of this road should be named after Bill Clinton.
Interstate 69 is a very appropriate name for a road that will do precisely that to the American citizen.
The fix is in.
If you are thinking what I'm thinking, they should call it I-77.
Citizens are the 70
LOL. I travel 59 to Houston. It'll always be 59 to me!
Although I guess I prefer I-69 over the Lloyd Bentsen Highway, or whatever it is that they've named it.
OMG, 77 and 69 will intersect in my town. What does it all mean. Never mind, I don't want to know.
77 plus 69 = Orgy.
Cintra is gonna make so much money off of TTC, they had to buy a bank in the US to hold it all.
"They don't have any other numbers left? Must it be I-69?"
In the words of Jeff Gordon, "That sucks".
Just call it Beso Negro....
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