“The sad part about my being here is that you’ve been working on this for twenty years. Don’t you think it’s time to bring that to a halt?”
Florida Republican John Mica addressed representatives of the Alliance for I-69 Texas, a lobbying group made up of city, county, port authority and business officials. The highway would link up ports all along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Mica tied the efforts to complete the Texas stretch of I-69 to the need for authorization of a new surface transportation bill. He blamed Democrats in general and former Transportation Committee chair James Oberstar specifically for the lack of action.
“I intend to try to make certain that some of the wreckage that I inherited, the lack of response for projects like I-69, come to a halt, and that we can move I-69 and other major infrastructure projects in all modes forward in this country.”
TxDOT reported in June that nearly half the proposed 500-mile I-69 route has been completed. Opposition to the construction has spanned the political spectrum, from environmentalists to property rights advocates.
Transportation Committee chairman John Mica led the briefing for members of the Alliance for I-69 Texas, a lobbying group made up of city, county, port authority and business officials.
Joining Mica was Blake Farenthold, a freshman representing South Texas and the sole Texas Republican on the committee.
“Highways like I-69 are absolutely critical. You know you’ve got the Rio Grande Valley, largest metropolitan area in the country not served by an interstate highway system. It also aids in all the other transportation goals that we’re looking at in the new Panama Canal, wider-deeper era. You’ve got the Port of Brownsville, Port of Corpus Christi, Port of Houston, Port of Beaumont, and some of our other ports along the Texas coast that all need access to the highways, all need access to rail transportation.”
Chairman Mica emphasized the importance of authorizing a new surface transportation bill to prevent further delays to construction.