Ports to Plains Highway Bills Die in Congress
Sunday afternoon was a busy day for national politics in Washington, D.C. The 116th Congress officially closed, as the 117th Congress started along with the new terms for all members of the U.S. House and the recently elected members of the U.S. Senate.
Last year, separate House and Senate bills were proposed which would have expanded Interstate 27, both north of Amarillo and south of Lubbock, as part of the Ports-to-Plains Highway Act. With the ending of the 116th Congress, both bills were officially killed.
Congressman Jodey Arrington of Lubbock had authored the House version of the Ports-to-Plains Highway Act of 2020 (H.R. 7151) and Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado had authored the Senate version (S. 4701).
Could the new Congress consider a bill to expand Interstate 27? Only if new versions of the Ports-to-Plains Highway Act are authored and submitted to both the House and Senate during the 117th Congress.
A new version of the Ports-to-Plains Highway Act will need to continue to have bipartisan support, especially with Democrat Joe Biden slated to take the reins of the presidency on January 20.
The proposed legislation which died at the end of the 116th Congress would have extended IH-27 both north of Amarillo and south of Lubbock: "IH-27 would be extended north of IH-40 going from Amarillo to Denver, Colorado, and south of Lubbock to Laredo, using parts of existing US Highways 287, 385, 87, 277, 83, plus Texas State Highways 349 & 158, and Colorado State Highway 71.
In Texas, the proposed I-27 expansion would have major junctions with I-20 in Midland and Big Spring; in Eldorado with the current US 190 and future I-14 (I-14 is already Congressionally authorized along US 190 in Texas); I-10 in Sonora, and then join up with I-35 in Laredo."
Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar co-sponsored the House version of the Ports-to-Plains Highway Act during the 116th Congress.