FederalTransportationCruz, Cornyn Work to Enable New ‘Ports-to-Plains’ Texas Interstate Highway

A new north-south trade route years in the planning is coming together in a joint effort by several U.S. Senators.
March 29, 2023
A trio of U.S. senators announced their joint effort to finalize the status of a new trade route, known as the “Ports to Plain” project, with three segments of the interstate highway system between Texas’ southern border and Oklahoma to be assigned official designations.

U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX), along with U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), announced the filing of the legislation, which comes after Cruz managed to secure key funding for the project last year.

The idea for the new trade route was born in Lubbock, and after numerous studies regarding the need for the route by state and federal officials as well as local communities, the project is slowly becoming a reality.

Beginning in Laredo, the truck trade route would loop in several other border cities before turning north and carrying trade through Texas into Oklahoma spanning some 963 miles.

According to Cruz’s office, a study on the impact of the trade route would increase commercial truck traffic 44 percent by 2045, create 22,000 new jobs, and increase Texas’ GDP by $2.8 billion.

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Cruz released a statement on the filing of the legislation, saying, “Designating the Ports-to-Plains Corridor as an interstate highway would benefit the entire state of Texas and our great nation.”

He added, “Thanks to the passage of the USMCA Trade agreement, trade between Mexico and Canada has increased substantially to the benefit of Texas farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, energy producers, and small businesses. I am pleased to join my colleagues to upgrade this critical infrastructure so that businesses that depend on this corridor for transit can cut costs and receive improved access to international trade.”

Cornyn also released a statement focusing on the economic benefits major industries would see from the new route.

“Establishing a Ports to Plains Corridor from Mexico through West Texas and into Canada will help Texas producers access new markets and enhance connectivity to the cites along its route,” Cornyn said, further adding, “Texas already boasts the most exports of any state, and this will help Texas farmers, ranchers, and producers continue to expand their operations.”

The first segment under the joint bill, designated Interstate 227, would start in Laredo and include the cities of Eagle Pass and Del Rio before turning north.

The center portion of the route would split to include paths crossing Midland-Odessa to one side and Big Spring to another, before regrouping northward and becoming Interstate 27 from Lubbock to Amarillo.

Cruz added that the new trade route is considered a “high-priority corridor” for the National Highway System.


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Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy. He graduated from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.