By Office of Congressman Ralph Abraham
WASHINGTON – Congressman Ralph Abraham, 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, Dr. 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, Mississippi.
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 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,” said Abraham, a member of Alto Baptist Church. “Interstate access means commerce, development and jobs. 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 LA 8, LA 28 and US 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 Dr. 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.”
Fort Polk Progress President Mike Reese said, “We appreciate the support of Congressman Abraham and Congressman [Mike] Johnson in co-sponsoring the bill presented today to identify the route of the future I-14 corridor. As we work to support Fort Polk, this designation will further support the long-term viability of this premier installation as it relates to deployment capability. Once complete, this corridor will connect forts to ports across the southern United States.”
“The England Authority is greatly appreciative and thankful of Congressman Abraham and Congressman Johnson for co-sponsoring a bill that would expand the future I-14 corridor through central Louisiana. Interstate 14 will pave the way for a future economic development corridor and assist in enhancing the growth and capacity of Fort Polk and England Airpark,” said Scott Gammel, interim director of the England Airpark.
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.
To read the bill, click here.
To view a map of the proposed I-14 corridor, click here.