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Transportation

Texas Ports Appeal To State Lawmakers For More Transportation Funding

Port directors tell the Senate Transportation Committee there needs to be more investment in roads that carry freight traffic. They also need funds for channel dredging, especially after Harvey.

  • Officials say about 35,000 trucks a week pass through the Port of Houston's facilities.  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter)
    Officials say about 35,000 trucks a week pass through the Port of Houston's facilities. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter)
  • Vehicles departing the Port of Houston.  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    Vehicles departing the Port of Houston. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
  • Officials say more freight from the Port of Houston needs to be put on rail.  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    Officials say more freight from the Port of Houston needs to be put on rail. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )

The Port of Houston has been making millions of dollars in improvements to its facilities, but executive director Roger Gunther said Wednesday the big challenge is moving freight once it reaches the docks.

"Projects supporting the last mile, local roads, or multi-modal projects including rail infrastructure access into our ports, are an example that the state should support," explained Guenther.

About 35,000 trucks a week are now moving in and out of the port's container terminals. Guenther told lawmakers in Austin he is concerned about what happens when those trucks hit the highway alongside passenger vehicles.

"We can't afford to have the inland congestion of the roads," said Guenther. "Our port's not congested but we can't have the trucks not being able to get to their destination in a competitive way."

The port is also working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a plan to deepen and widen the Houston Ship Channel. The work took on new urgency after Hurricane Harvey dumped tons of silt into the waterway.

That project is expected to cost about a billion dollars and Guenther says they will need local and state matching funds to make it happen.

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