09.28.20

Gardner Introduces Bill to Designate Ports-to-Plains as Future Interstate

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, introduced S. 4701, the Ports-to-Plains Highway Act, legislation to designate the Ports-to-Plains Corridor, which travels through Colorado, as a future Interstate. The bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). 

“With Colorado’s population growing at one of the fastest rates in the country, it is critical that we are making necessary investments in our state’s infrastructure,” said Senator Gardner. “The Ports-to-Plains Corridor is key to Colorado’s connectivity and the movement of goods, and it’s important we understand and consider our long-term infrastructure needs in the future. I appreciate the work of local stakeholders to support the corridor, and I will continue my efforts to support Colorado’s infrastructure needs at the federal level.”

“Texas is already the largest state exporter of goods, and adding an artery connecting us to Mexico and Canada will mean better access to markets for Texas farmers, ranchers, and producers,” said Senator Cornyn. “I look forward to working with my colleagues representing states all along the Ports-to-Plains Corridor to bring this plan to fruition.” 

“We are thrilled for this momentous legislation which will designate a future interstate along the Ports-to-Plains Corridor and bring a significant economic impact to the region as well as safety improvements for travelers on I-25,” said Cathy Shull, Executive Director of Pro 15 and member of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance Board of Directors. “Once completed, the infrastructure will alleviate heavy congestion by redirecting freight traffic east, paving the way for future economic development in eastern Colorado and increasing the productivity of drivers transporting Colorado exported goods to Mexico and Canada.”

The Ports-to-Plains Corridor in Colorado aims to facilitate an additional key North-South route to bolster the transportation of goods and people. The Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has projected nationwide freight moved by trucks could increase by 44 percent from 2015 levels by 2045, and according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Colorado exported $1.3 billion in goods to Mexico in 2018. Trade between Colorado and Mexico is expected to increase because of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which went into effect on July 1, 2020.

The Ports-to-Plains Corridor is currently designated as a High Priority Corridor on the National Highway System. Previously, the Colorado Department of Transportation joined State Departments of Transportation from Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico in releasing a Corridor Development and Management Plan for Ports-to-Plains. 

Gardner’s bill serves as a companion to H.R. 7151, legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Jodey Arrington (TX-19), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Kay Granger (TX-12), Mac Thornberry (TX-13) and Ben Ray Lujan (NM-3).

###

Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.