As the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world, the United States has an extensive international trade network and exports to all parts of the globe. Of all the states in the Union contributing to the economy through trade, Texas is the largest exporter and grosses over $100 billion a year in foreign trade. Part of what allows the nation and the state to excel in trade is our internal transportation network. To that end I support the improvement of existing transportation infrastructure in the 4th District, as well as the development of state of the art transportation methods such as high speed rail.
There are currently two major interstate programs in development that will cross through part of the 4th District: the I-69 Corridor and the I-49 Corridor. Interstate 69 will stretch from Texarkana south along what is currently US 59, through Houston and on to Laredo. To the north, I-69 will run up to Indiana. It is estimated that the development of the corridor will help create more that 40,000 new jobs and result in $12.8 billion in additional wages and $24 billion in added value to the region. The second one, the Interstate 49 corridor, will connect Texarkana, and in turn I-69, to the longest north-south interstate system, stretching from New Orleans to Canada. There is both an I-69 Congressional Caucus as well as an I-49 Caucus, and as a strong supporter of infrastructure development in Texas, I am a member of both.
I am an original co-chair of the River of Trade Corridor Coalition (ROTCC). The so called "River of Trade" starts at LA/ Long Beach and the beginning of Interstate 10 and stretches across the lower Southwest, through Texas along I-20 and I-30, through Arkansas on I-40 and all the way up to Detroit on Interstates 65, 71, 75 and 94. That route has two spurs in Texas, one along I-45 to Houston, and the other along I-35 to Laredo. This Corridor is one of the two most highly trafficked freight and passenger roadways in the entire country, and a sizeable piece comes through the 4th District. Some of the critical goals of the ROTCC are to:
· Protect, expand and maximize the economic vitality of the Corridor;
· Mitigate congestion and facilitate environmental compliance;
· Facilitate the efficient movement of freight to and from land ports and seaports;
· Coordinate the just-in-time delivery of containers from inland locations traveling outbound, and vice versa;
· Insist that the existing congestion, safety and pollution issues along the Corridor be addressed and provide appropriate avenues to do so.
Another major project that I support, through the groups TEX-21 and the Texas High Speed Rail Congressional Caucus, is the development of a true High Speed Rail system across North and Central Texas. The trains would run from Little Rock Airport to Texarkana and on to DFW International Airport on dedicated rail at speeds in excess of 200 mph, connecting much of the 4th District in a fast, safe and reliable manner. From DFW the trains will run south to Fort Hood at the "Texas T-Bone" where the tracks will then split and go to San Antonio and Houston. These trains will operate much more smoothly than the slow and inefficient AMTRAK system run by the Federal Government. Texas High Speed Rail will be based on sound conservative business practices to ensure that it responds to needs and desires of its users.