|I-30 gets designated as high priority corridor|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Aug. 3, 2005 -- Legislation approved by Congress last week will have a direct impact on Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County by adding Interstate 30 to the list of high priority corridors.
The transportation reauthorization bill, newly named SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users), includes I-30 from its intersection with I-635 in east Dallas to Little Rock, Ark., where it intersects with I-40 and to the proposed I-69 corridor.
The designation will mean the historic River of Trade Corridor will be federally recognized and will become eligible for increased funding as soon as President Bush signs the measure into law.
Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell, who has served as vice-chairman of the River of Trade Corridor Coalition, said the designation was a top priority.
“With the passage of this transportation reauthorization bill, we have met that objective,” he said. “It is huge success for Hopkins County.”
Maxwell said I-30 was almost left out of the legislation, and gave credit to U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall for his successful efforts to get it included.
“There were other groups pushing for similar designations for other stretches of interstates,” Maxwell said. “I am convinced the difference between us and them is that we have Ralph Hall. He has worked tirelessly to get this.
“I-30 was not in the bill when it went to conference committee, but it came out with it and I am convinced that it was because of the work that [Hall] did to ensure we got the designation.”
The city manager said having I-30 designated as a high priority corridor will mean benefits in the near future.
“It will mean a potential for increased funding in the future,” Maxwell said. “Anytime you want to receive funding from Congress, whether it is transportation funding or anything else, it really helps if you can show that Congress has already identified your need as a priority, and that is what has just happened.”
Texas cities along Interstate 35 from Laredo to Dallas and Interstate 30 from Dallas to Texarkana, including Sulphur Springs, banded together to form the River of Trade Coalition over fears they would not be included in a state transportation plan that would create super transportation corridors to carry people and goods across the state.