The Brazos Valley’s already strong connectivity to the rest of the nation is set to improve even further.
With President Joe Biden’s signing into law of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill on November 15, Interstate 14 has a newly designated route, one which includes Brazos County.
The route begins in the western part of Texas, progresses through Bryan and College Station, then heads east through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. A feasibility study will determine the exact route through the Brazos Valley but will likely include the interstate-quality State Highway 6, which was already slated to be widened starting in 2023.
Also included in the infrastructure package is a future interstate loop around Bryan and College Station, designated as I-214, which will make travel times and connectivity locally even better.
“The Brazos Valley’s companies positively impact Texas, the United States and beyond on a daily basis thanks to our prime location, world-class talent and an outstanding quality of life,” said Matt Prochaska, president/CEO of the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation. “Our ability to connect people and products here to the state, nation and world is strong, and with an interstate, it will only get stronger.”
“We understand that building I-14 will require billions of dollars and many years to complete but we are on our way,” said John Thompson, chairman of the I-14 Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, in a media release.
One of the Coalition board’s vice chairs is Brazos County Judge Duane Peters. College Station Mayor Karl Mooney and Bryan Mayor Andrew Nelson are also board members, as is Texas A&M University System Deputy Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Billy Hamilton.
Years of work by local, state and national leaders across the five states has helped make this designation a reality. According to the Coalition, I-14 was supported by all ten U.S. senators from the five states and every U.S. House member along the route. That includes Texas’s senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, as well as the Brazos Valley’s representative in the House, Pete Sessions.
“We must now work to win funding for planning and construction of projects on the corridor, work that must be done with Congress, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the departments of transportation in each of the states,” Thompson said.
The Texas Department of Transportation joined the other four states’ departments in supporting the designation, according to the Coalition.
Known as the “Forts to Ports” interstate, a goal of the project is to connect major military facilities across the south. The Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus in Bryan is home to the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC), where U.S. Army Futures Command will conduct testing of a wide range of technology to be used by soldiers in the future. The BVEDC is working with RELLIS and BCDC leadership to expand the region’s defense industry ecosystem.