Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Two I-69's?

There is some wishful thinking that the I-69 project will develop two spurs that use existing Hwy 77 and Hwy 281 for the Trans-Texas corridor. It's unlikely. Steve Ahlenius says it best. There is no reason for the federal government to spend money developing two spurs of the same highway.

The McAllen side of the Rio Grande Valley has the advantage that McAllen itself is a destination for tourists from the south. If you doubt me, watch the novelas on the Mexican channels. Whenever the characters come to the U.S., they head for McAllen. I-69 would make the McAllen side more attractive because it would facilitate travel to the rest of the U.S.

The Harlingen side has the advantage that it's right in middle of the whole Lower Rio Grande Valley. From Harlingen you can go to Brownsville or McAllen in about the same time. Well, maybe not the same time, but better than having to cross from McAllen across the Valley to get to Brownsville. No matter where the Interstate highway goes, it's sure to mean more traffic on Hwy 83. With increased trade, customs brokers stand to make a killing. Restaurants and other businesses servicing truckers and tourists would also benefit. Short-term, we would benefit from the construction dollars spent. Long-term, we would all see a trickle down effect of the cashflow through this area. One thing is for certain, the Rio Grande Valley MSA would gain sigificance due to the importance our region would have for commerce.

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