Officials Say Highway Designation Will Boost Economic Development In South Texas

The Valley is now home to about a million people, and there are a couple of big development projects in the works. 

Plans call for a commercial spaceport near Brownsville. Also the University of Texas is creating a new medical school. 

But when it comes to moving goods and people, local leaders were faced with a big problem. 

"We were one of the areas in the country that didn't have a major interstate going through. We had no interstate. There was nothing south of I-10."

That's Julian Alvarez with the Rio Grande Valley Partnership. It's an organization that promotes economic growth in the region. 

Alvarez is applauding the new I-69 designation on two existing highways in the Valley. 

Signs have gone up on a 53-mile stretch of US 77 near the U.S./Mexico border. There are also signs on a 14-mile section of U.S. 281 from ED-din-berg to Pharr. 

"You know when folks are looking at bringing in industry to south Texas, that's one of the first things they ask, is there a major interstate that goes through our ports of entry."

The long-term plan for I-69 is to create an interstate highway through the central part of the country that links the Canadian and Mexican borders. 

Here in the Houston area, drivers are seeing the I-69 shields along sections of U.S. 59. The newest signs are going up along a 28-mile segment from I-610 west to Rosenberg. 

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