Texas DOT considers leasing rights of way in Ports-to-Plains corridor

| Friday, October 20, 2006

Texas officials are studying the possibility of using some of the same kinds of private financing and construction that are being planned for the Trans-Texas Corridor for another major project.

That project is the Ports-to-Plains corridor, which would run from Laredo, TX, through west Texas, on to Denver and eventually to the Canadian border. According to supporters, it would bolster trade with Mexico and Canada.

At a recent annual meeting on the Ports-to-Plains project, TxDOT Director Michael Behrens said the study will take about 90 days and could lead to additional financing to finish the project. The study of alternative transportation possibilities will be virtually the same as the one used for possible routes of the Trans-Texas Corridor, Behrens said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The department is considering leasing the rights of way along Interstates 20 and 10 for utility lines to carry wind energy. Officials are also studying whether rail lines should be added to the project, which organizers say will cost about $2.8 billion to complete.

The goal is to turn existing roads from Laredo to Denver into four- or six-lane divided highways. About half the project is either complete, in the works or has been designed,

Ports-to-Plains President Michael Reeves told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

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