Bill would bring I-14 through central La.

Published 4:16 am Friday, June 22, 2018

Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, has cosponsored legislation to expand Interstate 14 from Texas through Central Louisiana and into Mississippi.

HR 6111, the I-14 Expansion and Improvement Act of 2018, was introduced by U.S. Reps. Brian Babin, R-Texas, Abraham and other members of the Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi delegations last week. The bill would bring existing roads into the congressionally designated I-14 corridor and connect communities from Midland, Texas to Laurel, Miss.

The expansion would provide bases like Fort Polk and Camp Beauregard with quicker and easier access to the deployment port in Beaumont, Texas, and interstate travel in general, which is consistent with President Donald Trump’s call improve readiness and efficiency within the military.

An expanded I-14 would grant communities across central Louisiana direct access to an interstate, which will lead to more economic development and jobs.

“Expanding I-14 will create numerous opportunities for central Louisiana to grow. Interstate access means commerce, development and jobs,” Abraham said “It means Fort Polk can deploy troops faster and more efficiently. I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to make it a reality.”

The bill would bring portions of Louisiana Highway 8, Louisiana Highway 28 and U.S. Highway 84 into the I-14 corridor. Other state and federal highways near Goodfellow Air Force Base near San Angelo, Texas, and north of the Beaumont would also be added into the I-14 corridor.

Community leaders in central Louisiana celebrated Abraham’s bill.

“The central Louisiana business community deeply appreciates Congressman Ralph Abraham for his vision and leadership on Interstate 14, the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway,” said Deborah Randolph, president of the Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The future I-14 will enhance national security, foster economic development and provide greater hurricane evacuation capacity. Our region, particularly, Fort Polk, England Airpark, AEX, and the Central LA Regional Port will be well positioned for the future as a result of I-14.”

Others cosponsoring the bill include U.S. Reps. Mike Conaway, R-Texas; John Carter, R-Texas; Kevin Brady, R-Texas; Mike Johnson, R-La.; and Greg Harper, R-Miss.