Why is the Ports-to-Plains Corridor Important to Texas AND the Nation?
The Ports-to-Plains Corridor is the only north-south transportation corridor that connects and integrates the nations’ and Texas’ most strategic economic engines of agriculture production, energy production and international trade and it supports growing population and economic centers of West and South Texas.
The Ports-to-Plains Corridor supports the largest agricultural production in the country. The Ports-to-Plains Corridor supports the production and export of agricultural products, generating approximately $11 billion a year in agricultural product sales.1
Statewide, the three top agricultural commodities are: cattle generating over $12.3 billion a year, cotton over $2.6 billion a year, and milk products generating over $2.1 billion a year.2 The production and export of quality agricultural products (crops, livestock, dairy, etc.) generates billions of dollars and relies directly on highway networks for transport of products to market.
Delays in the transport of livestock may create health and safety issues for the animals.
The Ports-to-Plains Corridor facilitates the transportation of supplies for development of energy products to refineries in the Texas Gulf and to border crossings and seaports for exports to global markets.
In April 2020, the Permian Basin accounted for over 39 percent of U.S. crude oil production, up from slightly over 18 percent in 2013.3 In 2019, the Permian Basin contributed $9 billion of the $13.4 billion (67 percent) in taxes in royalties to the state.4
The Eagle Ford Shale extends over 26 counties, five of these are within the Ports-to-Plains study area counties.
It stretches from the Mexican border between Laredo and Eagle Pass up through counties east of Temple and Waco. The share of U.S. oil produced in the Eagle Ford has also grown rapidly. In January 2010, the Eagle Ford Shale accounted for one percent of U.S. crude oil produced, but in April 2020, it accounted for 11.3 percent of the nation’s crude oil production.5 In 2016, the Eagle Ford Shale contributed $3.1 billion in state and local revenues.6
Wind is also a critical piece of the energy economy in South and West Texas. In 2019, Texas led the country in wind power additions representing a record amount of 3,938 megawatts.
Texas represents more than 25 percent of U.S. 105 gigawatts per the newly released Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019.7 The central section of the Corridor was responsible for 60 percent of all Texas alternative energy. Wind turbine equipment is large and requires specialized overweight/oversize transportation.
The Corridor is vital to the continued viability of these international trade gateways, especially with the recent passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Trucks carrying this freight rely on the Ports-to-Plains Corridor for direct access from the border to the north, northwest, and northeast. Currently, I-35 is the only interstate connection to and from Laredo, which does not efficiently serve trips headed northwest.
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