House Unanimously Approves Two Key Highway Bill Amendments Championed by Babin

Published 3:04 pm Monday, November 9, 2015

His Efforts to Protect Texas Jobs Earn Praise From State and Local Stakeholders

Special to The Leader

Washington, DC – Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved two amendments put forth by U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36) to a multi-year surface transportation bill that overwhelmingly passed the House.

The first amendment, which Rep. Babin co-authored with Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27), would ensure the same weight limits that are in place right now for certain trucks on certain stretches of roads would remain the same on Interstate 69.  On the House floor, Rep. Babin explained the importance of this amendment to local timber industry jobs (to view the video, click here).

“Unless we get this amendment adopted, the new blue signs for Interstate 69 in East Texas won’t just mean a new interstate. It could mean financial ruin for our loggers who already have a very thin profit margin and a very tough time for our timber industry,” said Rep. Babin. “It will mean a dramatic decrease in the amount of weight that all the loggers can haul on their trucks, which they have been doing safely and effectively on these roads for generations, even back when these same Texas counties were represented by our colorful Texas Democrat Congressman, Timber Charlie Wilson.”

“Better roads and better use of those roads means economic activity and more jobs,” said Ron Hufford, the Executive Director of the Texas Forestry Association.  “The East Texas timber industry is greatly appreciative to Congressman Brian Babin and Congressman Blake Farenthold for their amendment to preserve our current ability to efficiently move our timber to the mills, and our products to market.  Without this amendment, efficiency would be lost and our costs increased which always has an adverse impact on jobs.”

Rep. Babin’s second amendment would designate the Central Texas corridor as the first segment of Interstate 14, an area that will serve as a critical passage way between military facilities, metropolitan areas, and Texas’ existing and future interstate system.

“There is a reason this interstate already has a nickname, ‘Forts to Ports,’ as it provides either direct or very close access for some of our country’s most strategically important military and shipping assets,” said Rep. Babin during the amendment’s consideration on the House floor (to view the video, click here). “I am honored to offer on behalf of my State of Texas, our military, and all Americans this amendment to designate the central Texas corridor as the first segment of what I truly believe will be America’s next great highway, Interstate 14.”

Former Polk County Judge John Thompson, who serves as Chairman of the I-14/US 190 Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, in expressing appreciation to Congressman Babin for his work on this amendment said, “This amendment is great news for the country because the highway improvements will facilitate the movement of military equipment from our military bases to our ports, and great news for economic development for our communities along the route!”