AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Earlier this week, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1474 into law, establishing an I-27 Advisory Committee for the Ports-to-Plains Corridor.
Texas’ 86th Legislature approved a Ports-to-Plains feasibility study. Now, the I-27 Advisory Committee will continue a dialog with TxDOT for I-27 moving forward, thanks in part to State Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo) and State Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), who sponsored the legislation.
“Transportation south on I-27, north on 287 has always been important and this is just another element,” Sen. Seliger said. “I hope towards starting to see some progress on Ports-to-Plains, parts that have not been yet done.”
Ports-to-Plains Board President, John Osborne, said, “So this bill that was passed this legislative session was to establish that Advisory Committee, we’re following the path that the report that was previously done and submitted to the legislature was calling for, and they couldn’t be more pleased with how the process went.”
Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller, who served as the chair for Segment One in the feasibility study, said improving our portion of I-27 would benefit Amarillo and the surrounding area.
“In our case, it would contribute additional money to the west side of Loop 335 because that would serve as the downtown bypass for I-27,” Miller said.
He said it is also good timing, as the federal government looks to pass a large national infrastructure package.
“The quicker we can make this happen, the quicker we can help the state, we can participate in this advisory committee process and whatever ways that we are allowed, and help leverage both state and federal money to make this project happen, the better off we’re going to be,” Miller added.
Osborne said it is also about getting congestion off of I-35 and getting goods through the corridor more quickly—and the Loop 335 project is a big part of it.
“We want to make sure that we continue to have great communication and investments taking place in Amarillo and in the region to ensure that the viability of the project,” Osborne said. “That is the real goal is to take it to the interstate standard, because everyone, the communities and TxDOT realize the benefit that this will bring.”
Miller said expanding I-27 would mean more safety for travelers and an economic impact for our region.
“We’ve all seen I-27 be a need for decades. The exciting thing is that our Legislature, our governor, and hopefully our federal partners are now very realistically taking steps to make it happen, which is something we haven’t seen for decades,” Miller said. “So it’s very exciting.”
He also said the Amarillo area is a logical place for transport opportunities, where manufacturers have easy access to both coasts.
“We have access to heavy rail, highway infrastructure, there’s a lot of nexuses,” Miller said. “Plus, we have an international airport. So, from an air ground combination, we have great transport opportunities here. So this is a logical location for distribution for manufacturing, a lot of things that will bring very good high skilled, high paying jobs.”
To read more about the Ports-to-Plains Corridor, click here.