Rep. Cuellar Helps Establish Freight Corridors, Border Infrastructure through Highway Funding Bill
Cuellar has been pushing for more funding for IH-35 and port of entry infrastructure across district
Today, the House agreed to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, H.R. 22, the bill that offers a five-year $305 billion reauthorization of federal-aid highway and transit programs. The House voted 359-65 to accept the legislation, paving the way for Senate passage and sending the bill to the President’s desk. The legislation will allocate an average of $3.67 billion per year for the next five years for Texas transportation projects.
Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) has consistently advocated to secure transportation and infrastructure dollars for Texas’ 28th Congressional District and the Texas border region and was successful in including language that would make the important change of including stretches of road from border ports of entry in the national Primary Freight Network.
“The current Primary Freight Network misses key portions of our nation’s interstate system with its cap of 27,000 miles,” Congressman Cuellar said. “However, this bill will increase the cap to 41,518 miles and absorb key stretches of road from border ports of entry, including Interstate Highway 35 from Laredo to San Antonio.”
In addition, Congressman Cuellar, along with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX-23), successfully advocated for language that would provide border states with the flexibility to reserve certain federal highway funds for qualified border infrastructure projects.
“The border region has hundreds of billions of dollars in trade flowing in and out. Tens of thousands of trucks cross the border between Texas and Mexico every day. This puts a tremendous strain on our border transportation infrastructure. Under this bill, a border state will be able to set aside up to 5 percent of statewide surface transportation funds for transportation infrastructure projects along our nation’s borders. This is important as it will allow our border communities more certainty in planning vital infrastructure project.”
Congressman Cuellar also worked with Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX-27) in designating as a National Highway System High-Priority Corridor Texas State Highway 44 from U.S. Route 59 at Freer, Texas, in the 28th Congressional District, to Texas State Highway 358 in Corpus Christi. This gives Highway 44 from Freer to Corpus Christi the same designation as Route 59, I-35, and Highway 83 coming out of Laredo. This designation provides for the potential of increased federal funding and preferential treatment in applying for project grants.
“The border is a powerhouse for large-scale trade and we need more funding to keep up with infrastructure improvements and that is precisely what I have fought for in this bill,” Cuellar added. “I would like to thank Chairmen Inhofe and Shuster, Ranking Members Boxer and DeFazio, the members of their committees, and the members of the conference committee for their hard work.”
Congressman Cuellar and Congressman McCaul (TX-10) also successfully advocated for language authorizing an intelligent freight transportation system that will connect land ports of entry with current federal-aid highways.“There is a need to balance security with commerce at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the nation needs improved transportation infrastructure connecting ports of entry to the federal highway system,” Congressman Cuellar said. “An intelligent freight transportation system will help overcome congestion while enhancing throughput.